[UPDATE] FCAT Testing Begins

By: Associated Press; Jill Chandler Email
By: Associated Press; Jill Chandler Email

Tallahassee, Florida --

FCAT testing begins Monday, and it's a time that is stressful for both teachers and students.

Until now the tests were simply a way for educators to assess student progress, both individually and on a district-wide level.
Now, there's the added element of Merit Pay.

Teacher Merit Pay was signed into law less than month ago, adding the stress of performance based pay to the students and teachers involved in the FCAT process.

Mark Pudlow of the Florida Education Association said, "I think the kids do understand it, but I think they also understand that how well they do on their tests has an impact on them."

But, Leon County Schools say the pressure is there regardless of Merit Pay.

Scotty Crowe is the Divisional Director of Teaching and Learning for Leon County Schools. He said, "They've always felt the pressure and the anxiousness of their students doing well on the FCAT."

Aside from linking teachers' pay to test results, many teachers and parents also complain that the FCAT forces teachers to plan their lessons strictly around the test material.

"You have to guard against kids getting bored by that kind of education, not getting the inspiration and charge that all of us got at some point in time from our teachers... in some point in time from our education," said Pudlow.

But, Merit Pay will not be based off of this year's FCAT scores alone.

"Three years seems to be the magic number that we will look at as it relates to the students performance and then eventually- their merit pay," said Crowe.

For tips on how to get your student prepared click the link below.

http://fcat.fldoe.org/pdf/fcatfact.pdf

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Some 1.8 million Florida public school students will be taking the state's key standardized tests during
the next two weeks.

Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores are used to help determine a school's success, teacher quality and whether students
can advance a grade or receive a diploma.

The testing begins Monday and continues through April 22. Lawmakers pushed back the start date this year to give students
more time in class before the exams were given. This year, the reading exams and most math exams have been rewritten to meet new academic standards. Most FCAT exams are still administered on paper, but this year some high school students will take the math exams online.


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