Written by Beth O'Donnell, Asst. Superintendent for Instruction Friday, 27 January 2012 05:43
In the spring of 2011, Florida public school students in grades 3 through 10 took a newer, more rigorous version of the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) called FCAT 2.0. When results were made available to parents in the summer of 2011, the scores were reported to them using the older version of FCAT because the cut scores had not been established yet by the state. Spring 2011 scores will not be changed, but the FCAT 2.0 scores from this upcoming spring of 2012 will reflect the new cut scores.
Both versions of the test are scored ranging from Level 1 to Level 5 in Reading, Math, and Science. Level 3 is equivalent to proficiency at the student’s grade level.Recommendations for the new FCAT 2.0 cut scores are the result of a lengthy process by the Florida Department of Education that included three different workgroups of experts in their content areas, superintendents, and college and university presidents. Colleges have a stake in the process because of the the need to assure that high school graduates can demonstrate college and career readiness. Wakulla had two teachers who served in the Educator Workgroup.
The new FCAT 2.0 was designed to increase rigor as it reflects ever increasing global competition faced by today’s students. High scores do not mean anything if they do not translate into college and career readiness for students.
In addition, the new cut scores are designed to correct the inequities that existed between grade levels. For example, using the old system for 2011 results, 34% of students statewide scored a Level 3 in Reading in 8th grade, and only 17% scored a Level 3 in 10th grade. The new cut scores aim to create a consistent look across grade levels to accurately measure student progress from grade to grade.
What can parents do to help their children prepare for the FCAT 2.0? They can encourage and model reading throughout the year; talk about and analyze current events; encourage learning and using new vocabulary; and practice math problem solving. Website resources include:
· wakullaschooldistrict.org – click on The Parent Guide to Wakulla County Schools
Superintendent David Miller states, “I feel confident that our teachers and students have the capacity to meet these new requirements and continue the success to which our high performing school district is committed.”
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