Putting Education Reform To The Test

Schools Spend 1 Percent Of Instructional Time On FCAT? ‘False’ Says PolitiFact

Florida Department of Education

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson says Florida schools spend just 1 percent of "instruction time" on the FCAT. PolitiFact says 'false."

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson has defended the state’s standardized testing regimen by arguing the state spends just 1 percent of “instructional time” on the exams.

But a new PolitiFact analysis rates Robinson’s claim “false.”

Much of the ruling hinges on the phrase “instructional time.”

The state Department of Education analysis Robinson based his statement upon counted only time taking the test. But PoltiFact argues that time spent prepping students for the test should be considered “instructional time.”

Here’s PolitiFact’s conclusion:

Readers could assume that by “instructional time” Robinson was including regular lesson time in the classroom preparing for the FCAT. He wasn’t. His office says that referred to the number of minutes taking the test out of the total minutes of instruction per year. But he didn’t provide that explanation in his statement.

In reality, there is no clear way to quantify how much time teachers spend preparing students for the test. Some teachers say they spend practically all their time on the FCAT.

Robinson’s goal was to deflect criticism that too much time is spent “teaching to the test.” He is suggesting that the FCAT eats up only a smidgen of a school year. But for students, parents and teachers who spend months preparing for those tests, Robinson’s words are misleading.

Do you think Robinson’s statement was fair or misleading? How much time is spent on FCAT?


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