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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

You can't score a 3.5 in FCAT Writing anymore



FCAT Yes, yes. You've grown accustomed to that score, which represented passing the dreaded test for so long.

But to save some money, the Florida Department of Education will have just one reader — not the usual two — score the writing essays for fourth- and eighth-graders this year.

And without two readers, half-point scores won't be possible.

"To accommodate this change for school grades, we propose using the average of the percentage of students scoring a 3 and above and the percentage of students scoring a 4 and above," Commissioner Eric. J. Smith tells superintendents in a memo outlining several changes to the FCAT system.

He said there shouldn't be any negative effects, as the agreement between scorers in the past has been consistent over time. Got that?

What else is on tap for the FCAT? You've heard it all before, but it sounds new when it comes out in an official FDOE memo. Read on.

  • There won't be any summer retakes this year.
  • The state won't provide printed grade reports or printed support materials, such as Keys to FCAT and Lessons Learned.
  • The FCAT will be computer based by 2012. [Clarification from the FDOE: "Computer-based testing for the FCAT will begin during the 2011-2012 school year but by no means do we expect it to be in place statewide by the close of 2012."]
  • End-of-course exams will launch in 2010, starting with algebra. (See the planned schedule.)

What's up with all this? Partly, it's an effort to improve accountability. But also, Smith says, "all aspects of education are facing budget reductions, and the statewide assessment program is no different."

(Image from Duval County Schools)


[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:19am]


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