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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FCAT science practice offers wrong lessons, the Happy Scientist contends



With the FCAT science exam just days away, many Florida schools undoubtedly are preparing students with materials from the state.

Robert Krampf, north Florida's Happy Scientist, says in a recent blog post that doing so could be a big mistake:

"A few weeks ago, I started developing FCAT practice questions to help students review concepts and prepare for the test. To develop those questions I used FLDOE's FCAT 2.0 Science Test Item Specifications. These documents are used as: "a resource that defines the content and format of the test and test items for item writers and reviewers."

"I expected the Test Item Specifications to be a tremendous help in writing simulated FCAT questions. What I found was a collection of poorly written examples, multiple-choice questions where one or more of the wrong responses were actually scientifically correct answers, and definitions that ranged from misleading to totally wrong."

He offers examples, which he shared with state testing developers. Their responses? Essentially that students might not be aware of all the science, so an answer that is technically correct would be "wrong" on the test.

"I wonder how many students got "wrong" answers on the FCAT because their teachers taught them too much. How many "F" schools would have higher grades if those scientifically correct "wrong" answers were counted as correct answers. How many "B" schools would get the extra funding that "A" schools get, if those scientifically correct "wrong" answers were counted as correct answers?"

Feeling ready for the FCAT science test yet?

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 1:58pm]


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