[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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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by bagofpegs on Apr 12, 2011 at 06:38 AM
    Old fashion teaching is gone thanks to the legislators. They basically tell the teachers what they can and can not teach. Anything outside of the box is no longer allowed. I wasn't aware of this until I talked to a teacher who told me that teachers are being controlled by the government. More parents need to be involved, to much emphasis is put on these tests these days for funding purposes. These tests grade the schools. It angers me that the government spends so much on unnecessary items but can not afford to pay the teachers and service leaders of our communities - SHAME ON YOU ALL.
  • by Mom Location: Tallahassee on Apr 12, 2011 at 05:49 AM
    To "a Teacher", first, thank you for your hard work. I once considered teaching as a profession, but honestly, I couldn't hack it. Try not to worry about the kids that finish fast. Not all of them blow off the test. I work hard all year with my sons' teachers so that they're prepared for FCAT. Both my sons dread the test so much that they tend to get sick in the mornings. I would say it causes a lot of stress... Both tend to do well on them though.
  • by a teacher Location: florida on Apr 11, 2011 at 05:35 PM
    I gave the FCAT to my students today. I spent all year teaching them the skills needed to pass the test. As I surveyed the students this morning, this was the scene in my classroom. One student spent approximately 10 minutes bubbling in answers. He then put his head down and went to sleep. Another student arrived under the influence of alcohol. Of the remaining students, half used less than one-half the allotted test time. The effort they put forth is not surprising. Thank you legislators and Rick Scott for putting my salary in the hands of 14 to 18 year old students.
  • by Denise Location: Tallahassee on Apr 11, 2011 at 03:19 PM
    Teachers have always taught to the test in recent history....Now thanks to Slick Rick and his cronies, it will become more prevalent. The system does not tell who is the best teacher, but rather who can jump through the most hoops....Often not the best teacher.
  • by djm Location: tally on Apr 11, 2011 at 01:04 PM
    I heard on the news today that the test will include topics that the kids have not been taught... Ummmmm!!! Don't agree with that at all. What happened to the old fashion teaching..........
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