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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida House looks to eliminate high school FCAT



Check the position of the moon, because one of those rare instances where Florida Republicans and Democrats agree is about to occur.

The GOP-led Florida House plans to release a proposed committee bill on Wednesday (through the Pre-K-12 Policy Committee) that would do away with the high school FCAT. In its place, lawmakers propose a series of end-of-course exams, some with high stakes, others of the less stressful variety.

"The FCAT served its purpose," said committee chairman John Legg, who has been working the idea for about four years. "But at the high school level, we see a disalignment between the test and the courses they are taking."

Democrats already have filed legislation to accomplish the same goal.

Of course, the details might differ. But as Legg pointed out, having the most liberal and conservative lawmakers work together toward a compromise should create a better end result. What will the committee bill include? Read on for the summary.

The bill highlights are:

  • Substitute an end-of-course algebra I exam for ninth-grade FCAT math
  • Substitute an end-of-course geometry exam for tenth-grade FCAT math
  • Substitute an end-of-course biology I exam for eleventh-grade FCAT science
  • Require passage of the end-of-course exams to earn course credit in those three courses
  • Implement low-stakes end-of-course exams for English/language arts II, algebra II, chemistry, physics, earth/space science, US history and world history as funds become available
The committee expects to begin discussing the bill next week.
UPDATE: The House committee has delayed release of the bill and its debate to coincide with the Senate's bill release.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:48am]


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