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Superintendents Issue Rebuke Of School Accountability System

Sep 27, 2015
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Less than a month after the Department of Education touted the validity of a new standardized test, Florida school superintendents issued a statement saying they have "lost confidence" in the state's public-school accountability system.

"We have witnessed the erosion of public support for an accountability system that was once a model for the nation,'' the Florida Association of District School Superintendents said in the statement released Friday.

Pinellas County Schools

The Pinellas County School District has issued a response to a Tampa Bay Times investigation into the district's lowest performing schools -- saying, " the road to transformation begins with solutions, not blame."

“Opt Out” groups are pushing back against what they say is too much standardized testing in Florida. The tests are changing as the state transitions to Florida Standards - an offshoot of the Common Core standards being implemented around the country.

Meet Florida's New Statewide Test

Nov 24, 2014
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This spring, Florida students will take a brand new test tied to the state’s new math, reading and writing standards.

This is the test that replaces the FCAT. It's known as the Florida Standards Assessment, and it’ll be online.

What’s on the test won’t be the only thing different about the exam. Students will also find new types of questions.

We gathered your questions about the new exam from our Public Insight Network. Here’s what you you wanted to know -- and what it’ll mean for students and schools.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Last week Gov. Rick Scott delivered an $8.5 million check to Hillsborough County schools earning good marks on the state’s grading formula.

Those grades depend a lot on student FCAT scores. So Hillsborough Superintendent MaryEllen Elia took a moment pump up students at West Tampa’s Graham Elementary School before this week's testing.

"Next week you’re going to have an opportunity to do great again, right?" Elia asked.

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.

Florida Matters: Choosing The Next FCAT

Mar 11, 2014
biologycorner / Flickr

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart is expected to recommend a test to (mostly) replace the FCAT later this month.

A new test is needed because Florida is finishing the switch to new K-12 math, language arts and literacy standards this fall. The standards are largely based on Common Core standards fully adopted by 44 other states and the District of Columbia.

freedigitalphotos.com

Florida is in the midst of implementing new, tougher academic standards to make its students more competitive. To do that, the state needs to replace the well-known FCAT exam with a new set of tests.

These new standards kick in next year, so a new test has to be found soon and the current debate is about a test known as PARRC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers).

But is it the best choice?

Florida Education Commissioner Submits Resignation

Jul 31, 2012

Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson will resign his position on August 31, the Department of Education announced this evening.

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is all grown up. But has it grown into a monster?

That’s the question raised by a Tampa Bay Times article recounting the birth and adolescence of the FCAT:

State Education Commissioner to Defend FCAT in Tampa

May 23, 2012

All the talk about falling scores on Florida's FCAT tests has prompted the state's education chief to hold a series of public forums. The first one will be in Tampa tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Hillsborough Community College.

Science Educator Questions the FCAT

Apr 19, 2012

The FCAT test is only as good as its questions…and one science educator says those questions are confusing at best.

Here's one example -- try to answer this sample FCAT question for 5th graders:

Which is scientifically testable?

  1. Orange blossoms give off a sweeter smell than gardenia flowers.
  2. The petals of red roses are softer than the petals of yellow roses.
  3. Sunflowers with larger petals attract more bees than sunflowers with smaller petals.

According to the testmaker, the correct answer is three.

Reading teacher Audra Cervi says kids pay attention to their reading lesson when the letter ‘J’ turns into a jumping, blue 3-D jaguar.

Cervi places a flash card with the letter J under a special camera. Across the room a jaguar springs to life on an electronic screen.

A small group of kindergartners at Audubon Park Elementary School near Orlando squeal at the sight. Some reach out to grab the critter.