published: Sunday, October 14, 2012
FCAT being replaced in 2014
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Much discussion and many changes have reshaped the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test since it was instituted in 1998.
During the same time, it grew in importance, first determining a student's promotion, and then teacher and school evaluations. The FCAT has been controversial from the very beginning and critics continue to worry about several issues.
With so much at stake, they say, too much of a school year's study is focused solely on taking the test. They add that most students are not well served by a "one test shows all" approach.
As far as evaluating teachers, there is considerable concern that the test cannot begin to measure a teacher's true worth.
Finally, critics say the multiple choice standardized test doesn't promote the teaching of analysis, process or communication.
Florida, however, is not alone in wrestling with how to measure how much a child has learned, or how well a teacher has taught.
The entire nation is working to improve public education.
There is a call for setting national standards that are more rigorous and consistent state to state.
Forty-six states have joined in creating a set of Common Core Standards. That group has divided into two groups, each developing a separate assessment system.
Florida is one of the 23 states in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Among the member states are Alabama, Tennessee, North Dakota, New Jersey, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Ten of the 12 states which won federal Race to the Top money are in the partnership. Florida is one of those 10.
PARCC has a governing board that meets quarterly to make major policy and operational decisions for the 23 states. The board bases its decisions and tests on the Common Core Standards.
According to the partnership's website, "(The consortium) is working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math, anchored in what it takes to be ready for college or a career."
The new assessments will require more written work, including showing the process used to arrive at an answer in math. Reading questions will require more analysis and the presenting of evidence. The material will be more challenging.
The tests will be administered twice a year -- once at the beginning, the other at the end.
Becky Fleck, assistant superintendent for curriculum for the school district, said both the Commonn Core Standards and new assessment tests are coming to Highlands County. State has mandated PARCC assessment tests be in place for the 2014-2015 school year.
"The Common Core is the next generation of the Sunshine Curriculum," Fleck said adding it emphasizes language arts, reading and math and raises literary standards. "It actually touches all areas," she said.
The key is to developing the new curriculum and introducing it into classrooms.
"We've started with the babies and have full implementation in kindergarten this year. Then we'll go all the way."
Given that the concepts are new and 23 states are involved, Fleck said there is still some confusion. "I know very little. The good news," she added, "is that Florida is not by itself any more, so there is a wealth of information out there. It's a huge bonus for us, to tap into work from other states."
FCAT (by: Blindman - 10/16/2012)
The controversy over the FCAT is simply fallout over the last 50 years of integration. Society's denial of differences in students learning abilities coupled with teachers frustration of the same and not wanting to be held accountable. They can change the test but the trouble will never end.
Re; Common Core (by: Keicah - 10/15/2012)
Will the new Common Core Assessments replace FCAT and are students required to pass at a certain level in order to get promoted to 4th, 6th, 9th grades and also to graduate from high school in Florida?
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