Changes in the FCAT

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This year some new changes to the test mean added pressure on students and faculty.

Cassandra Poole counts dozens of boxes filled with FCAT prep books. This year the boxes are weighing her down, now that science is in the mix.

Cassandra Poole is the Assistant Principal at Apalachee Elementary and said, "By adding one more piece to the puzzle it is requiring us to work harder to ensure children are being taught."

Science was added to the FCAT last year, but this year the new addition will be included in grade calculations.

"I think it's important students are gaining some knowledge not just learning about it in the class but some kind of evaluation on assessment instrument on what they had to learn," said Gloria Gallon, a teacher at Apalachee Elementary.

Educators say opening another chapter in children's education is great, but this means more work with very little time.

Christina Maysonette teaches at Apalachee and said, "Finding the time, giving the students the time that is beneficial and appropriate to really learn what they need to do".

With the added course work, there is a need for more resources. This year the district has provided the schools with brand new science and FCAT prep books, and with any change there comes a reason.

Paul Felsch is the Director for Leon County Schools Testing and Assessment and said, "The state and district want to focus a little bit more on science to make sure people are teaching it and learning it and will show up on FCAT results."

The results of the science portion won't just affect students; each school’s grade will also change.

A few other changes this year are schools will now be accountable for the lowest 25 percent of students in the math section, and multiple choice questions are being added to the writing section.

The FCAT will be administered to students across Florida from February 26 through March 9.