Fla. chooses new test chosen to replace FCAT in 2015 - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Fla. chooses new test chosen to replace FCAT in 2015

Posted: Updated:

By GARY FINEOUT
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida is ready to part ways with the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, a mainstay in the state's schools for more than a decade.

Pam Stewart, the state's education commissioner, announced on Monday that she has approved a six-year contract with a not-for-profit outfit to develop a new test that students will be required to take a year from now.

"I feel very confident that it is the best choice for Florida's students and the assessment is going to measure their progress and achievement on Florida standards," Stewart said.

Stewart's decision to approve the $220 million contract with American Institutes for Research marks yet another significant step toward the state's transition away from the FCAT, which has drawn both praise and scorn for the way it transformed the state's public schools.

The new tests will include more than the multiple-choice questions that are a framework for many standardized tests, including the FCAT. The commissioner also said Monday that students will use paper and pencil to complete the tests initially, but that schools will gradually transition to online tests.

In a letter sent to principals Monday, Stewart said students will be asked to create graphs, interact with test content and "and write and respond in different ways than they would on traditional tests." She added that the new questions will assess "higher order thinking skills" that are part of the "higher expectations" included in the state's new standards.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush made the FCAT the centerpiece of his A-through-F school grading system. Test results were not only used to evaluate schools but also to determine whether third-graders should be held back and whether high school students were ready to graduate. Debate over the FCAT even triggered a change in state law over when the school year would start.

The new test, which still does not have a name, will be based on a new set of standards that are based largely on the contentious Common Core State Standards. Florida officials tweaked the math and English standards earlier this year to include such items as a requirement for cursive writing. But this change has not ended the backlash against Common Core.

Florida was initially part of a national consortium developing a Common Core test, but the state pulled out of the Partnership for Assessment of College and Career Readiness at the urging of Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders.

The group selected Monday has ties to a different national consortium that developing its own Common Core test but Stewart insisted the new test will be Florida-specific. She did note, however, that the type of questions used on the test was being tried out first this year in the state of Utah.

Randy Osborne, who works with the group Florida Parents Against Common Core, called the new testing vendor an "evil twin" to the previous group the state worked with.

"We can call it what we want, call it what we may," Osborne said. "We can call it Florida standards. I call it putting lipstick on a pig."

When Florida first adopted Common Core standards, one of the arguments in its favor was that it would allow parents to compare how Florida students compared to students in other states. Stewart, however, said that there would be advantages to the new test, including that it would take less time than the one developed by the national consortium and could be given later in the school year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • On Deco DriveMore>>

  • Burger Love

    Burger Love

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:48 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:48:33 GMT
    Sometimes, love can be hard to find in South Florida. The same can't be said for burgers, though. Tasty patties are everywhere. A new joint is offering up a unique take on this favorite comfort food. It's fresh, healthy and tastes like nothing you've tried before. Welcome to Burger Love.
    Sometimes, love can be hard to find in South Florida. The same can't be said for burgers, though. Tasty patties are everywhere. A new joint is offering up a unique take on this favorite comfort food. It's fresh, healthy and tastes like nothing you've tried before. Welcome to Burger Love.
  • Cris Cab

    Cris Cab

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:08 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:08:34 GMT
    One of Miami's hometown boys is about to make his name even bigger. Singer Cris Cab is taking his friendship and professional pairing with Pharrell to the international stage. Deco's Liz Nagy sat down with the South Florida singer before he heads out on tour.
    One of Miami's hometown boys is about to make his name even bigger. Singer Cris Cab is taking his friendship and professional pairing with Pharrell to the international stage. Deco's Liz Nagy sat down with the South Florida singer before he heads out on tour.
  • Fireman Derek's Bake Shop and Cafe

    Fireman Derek's Bake Shop and Cafe

    Friday, August 29 2014 1:33 AM EDT2014-08-29 05:33:23 GMT
    City of Miami firefighter and professional baker Derek KaplanCity of Miami firefighter and professional baker Derek Kaplan
    Some people are good at putting out fires. They're called firefighters. Others are good at baking pies. They're called bakers. But one man is excellent at both. He's a crusty firefighter, and we mean that in a really good way.
    Some people are good at putting out fires. They're called firefighters. Others are good at baking pies. They're called bakers. But one man is excellent at both. He's a crusty firefighter, and we mean that in a really good way.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Official: 5 killed in plane crash north of Denver

    Official: 5 killed in plane crash north of Denver

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:51 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:51:26 GMT
    Authorities say three people were killed and two others were injured when their small plane crashed near an airport north of Denver.
    All five people aboard a small plane that crashed near an airport north of Denver have died, a spokesman for the National Transportation Board said.
  • 5 US airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

    5 US airstrikes target Islamic State fighters

    Monday, September 1 2014 3:41 AM EDT2014-09-01 07:41:19 GMT
    The U.S. military says fighter aircraft and unmanned drones have struck Islamic State militants near Iraq's Mosul Dam.
    The U.S. military says fighter aircraft and unmanned drones have struck Islamic State militants near Iraq's Mosul Dam.
  • Revel starts shutdown Monday after just 2 years

    Revel starts shutdown Monday after just 2 years

    Monday, September 1 2014 2:33 AM EDT2014-09-01 06:33:31 GMT
    The most spectacular and costly failure in Atlantic City's 36-year history of casino gambling begins to play out Monday when the $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel empties its hotel.
    The most spectacular and costly failure in Atlantic City's 36-year history of casino gambling begins to play out Monday when the $2.4 billion Revel Casino Hotel empties its hotel.
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.