Testing season gets under way today with the FCAT writing test for the state's fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders. For the first time, students will be graded on 50 to 55 multiple-choice questions in addition to the standard essay.
Schools spent days preparing, doing even the most mundane things as sharpening hundreds of pencils. "Four pencil sharpeners are no longer in use at Pine View Middle School," noted Pasco County School Board chairwoman Marge Whaley, whose husband sharpened for two days. She asked the administration this morning to tell schools for future testing dates what her husband learned after the fact: "You can buy pencils already sharpened."
No doubt they will be used. The writing portion of the FCAT will ask students to follow a prompt and to write either an expository essay, in which they explain something, or a narrative essay, in which they tell a story. They'll have 45 minutes to do the job.