FCAT Scores Remain High
Written by Jessica Pilkins
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) has long been the educational measurement for Florida students. Students practice skills to improve knowledge and test taking throughout their time in school. Students are tested in a number of different subjects to gauge their level of knowledge on each; this includes science, math, reading and writing. FCAT testing started to increase student achievement by implementing higher standards. Students in grades 3 – 10 take the FCAT tests. This measures each student’s success at meeting the Sunshine State Standards benchmarks. FCAT testing has been and is in the process of changing. During the 2010-11 school year, Florida began the transition from FCAT to the new FCAT 2.0, which is scored on a more rigorous scale. This new version measures a student’s achievement of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. The new testing standards are raising the bar on student achievement and skills.
With anything new comes growing pains, and that is exactly what has happened with FCAT scoring. One important issue was how to compare previous years’ scores with those of the current year to gauge improvement. The 2011 scores were adjusted to illustrate what the scores would have been last year if the new stringent score scale and achievement levels had been implemented at that time. But even with all the changes, averages for Sarasota County schools in reading and writing remain higher than the state averages at all grade levels tested. Students are clearly showing progress and improvement, even under stricter scoring scales. The graphs on the following pages show the 2010-11 and 2011-12
writing scores for grades 4 and 10 as well as the reading scores for grades 9 and 10 from 2012, 2011 and 2012.