FCAT

Nicole Poulin

What should a school do when parents don’t want their kids to take a standardized test?  Public school students across Florida are in the midst of testing season, and state law says the tests are mandatory; there’s no formal mechanism to “opt out.” But plenty of Florida parents are instructing their children to do just that.

freedigitalphotos.net

The Florida Department of Education has released practice questions for the new assessments that will replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test next year.

The tests, which are aligned to the new Common Core-based Florida Standards, are available at the Florida Standards Assessments website.  Some questions are similar to what students might have seen on the FCAT—asking test-takers to identify main ideas in a text or figure out a percentage in a word problem.

shinealight / Flickr

The percentage of Florida third graders passing the state's FCAT math and reading exams did not improve this year -- remaining largely flat for the past three years -- according to initial test results released Friday.

Fifty-seven percent of third graders scored at least a 3, the state's passing score, on the reading test. On the math exam, 58 percent of third graders scored a least a 3.

Writing scores were mixed. A higher percentage of eighth and tenth graders passed the writing exam this year. But fewer fourth graders passed the exam.

Florida’s graduation rate increased by five percentage points between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, according to new U.S. Department of Education graduation rate data released today. But despite the improving rate, just six states and the District of Columbia have a lower graduation rate than Florida –the same number as last year.

Schools Suspend FCAT Because Of Computer Problems

Apr 23, 2014

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Some stores post a warning: Disobedient children will be given and a puppy and an espresso. Maybe that's not so bad. Kids at a Melbourne, Florida elementary school were given caffeine. Each kid was offered trail mix and Mountain Dew on the morning of standardized tests. A grandmother got the school to stop, but the principal says she read a study on keeping kids' energy levels stable. By the way, Creole Elementary is rated an A+ school. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

What Everyone Is Reading April 13-19

Apr 22, 2014
Maria Murriel / WLRN

This week's most read stories include: The demise of the FCAT, drinking beer and practicing yoga, the golden years of marijuana smuggling and six plaintiffs who plan to fight the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Photo by Norm Robbie (Flickr) / Illustration by Sammy Mack

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is dying, say Florida education officials. By this time next year, the FCAT will be replaced with a new, Common Core-aligned assessment.

FCAT was born in 1995 in the humid June of a Tallahassee summer.

The Florida Commission on Education Reform and Accountability under Gov. Lawton Chiles gave birth to the test. It was part of a series of recommendations that were meant to give local districts more control and a better sense of how their schools were doing.

The End Of FCAT

Mar 21, 2014

This spring, students will be taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for the last time. We look at what's ahead.  

Leaders in Tallahassee call child welfare reforms a priority for this legislative session after a Miami Herald investigation into the Department of Children and Families.  

El Salvador has a new president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a former guerilla. Washington worries the new leader could move closer to Venezuela.

My son went to a school that received an “A” grade from the state of Florida. During fifth grade, his last year as a public school student, his standardized test score significantly dropped. From here he went on to a private school that does not put such an emphasis on a single test.

When my husband was studying for the CPA exams, he prepared for months.  He memorized laws and rules and exceptions to those rules.  He used flashcards, watched lectures and took simulated exams.  He answered thousands of sample test questions. 

Preparing for exams is as much about tactic as it is about knowledge.  To conquer an exam, people learn to beat the test.  They learn strategies.  They take courses designed specifically to prepare them for these exams or they study on their own, for the tests.

fcir.org

The series on remedial education at Florida’s colleges by NPR’s StateImpact Florida and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting has prompted lots of conversations: Why are so many high school graduates needing remediation in college?  Should a high school diploma be a certificate of college readiness -- perhaps only for some students.

We chatted online with StateImpact’s Sarah Gonzalez and FCIR’s Mc Nelly Torres along with a social media audience of students, educators and people interested in education policy.

What’s Causing The Rising Need For Remedial Classes

Dec 14, 2012
Sarah Gonzalez/ StateImpact Florida

Shakira Lockett was a pretty good student in elementary, middle and high school. The Miami-Dade County native says she typically earned As and Bs in English classes.

Math was always something of a struggle for Lockett. Still, she got through her high school exit exam with a passing grade and went on to graduate from Coral Gables Senior High School in 2008.

She went straight to Miami Dade College. Then, something unexpected happened: She flunked the college placement exams in all three subjects – reading, writing and math.

 

Sagette Van Embden / Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

The series on remedial education exposed what some in the public school system at the secondary and college level already knew: that many students are graduating from high school unprepared for college. 

Adding Up The Cost Of Remedial College Courses

Dec 13, 2012
Thomas Hawk/ Flickr

Students and Florida taxpayers pay a price for remedial education in several ways

From 2004 to 2011, Florida’s remedial education costs for both students and schools ballooned from $118 million to $168 million. At the same time, statecollege funding has declined $544 million since 2007, causing tuition increases and creating a greater need for publicly funded financial aid.

Pages