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Another Bump in the Road for FCAT

June 8th, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

Since its launch, the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test has been a clashing point for students, educators, lawmakers, and parents. Now, As Mike Vasilinda reports, problems with scoring the test could affect what grades schools get later this month.

School grades from the state are going to be late this summer… yet another bump in the state’s controversial standardized testing system known as the FCAT. Other problems include a new science test in which students did poorly and a problem grading some portions of the 3rd grade version of the test which inflated test scores for nearly 200-thousand students.

“I would have to give the grade “F.” says John Due, a member of the Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform. And with 4 grandchildren just starting in public school,  he’s worried about problems that effect school grades and how student performance is measured. “I’m concerned about them taking any kind of standardized test which really doesn’t measure whether they are learning or not.”

The Department of Education is hoping that school grades, which range from F to A, will be out by the end of June. That’s two weeks later than normal. DOE spokesman Tom Butler told us “We… we stand by the FCAT. I think if you look through the long term gains that have been shown by the FCAT, the performance measures that have been in place and the accountability that the FCAT has brought to the education system here in Florida, I think you know we’re very happy with how the way the FCAT has performed.”

Next week an advisory committee is scheduled to meet and examine the options for fixing the inflated test scores and possibly rescoring the portions of the 2006 3rd grade test. School grades are expected to drop this year because of the addition of the science test and lower grades could mean fewer dollars for those schools.

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