The first part, or the Criterion-Referenced Tests (CRT), is used to measure the chosen standards in the subjects of Mathematics, Science, reading as well as writing which are essentially extracted from the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) while the second part, the Norm-Referenced Tests (NRT), measures the functioning of the student learner in terms of reading and Mathematics in the context of established national norms.
With this in mind, the resulting FCAT scores can be used in order to determine the strong and weak points of the students who took up the test in connection to their classroom and overall performance in their school. While FCAT serves as a tool in measuring and determining the level of achievement of students in connection to the Sunshine State Standards, it also provides a better comprehension and analysis for the academic accomplishments of students by scrutinizing the manifold segments of evidence found in the tests such as the FCAT scores that are accumulated over time.
This is one of the primary reasons why students undertake the test. This is especially helpful to teachers as it allows them a substantial amount of information with regard to the individual performance of the students. By monitoring the FCAT test results and by comparing these results with the results from previous years, the knowledge of the students can be increased specifically in the field of science. This can be particularly achieved through the initiative of identifying the weak and strong areas of the students in relation to the FCAT test results and by adjusting lesson plans accordingly.
With an interest in improving the knowledge of students and preparing them for the fitting career choice or goals in the coming years, every effort to instill desires for these future successes must be addressed so that the students will understand the significance of creating a firm and stable knowledge base. One of the essential goals among various learning institutions, especially among teachers, is to make the students know more and appreciate the content of the courses or school curriculum.
This furthers their rational thinking and assists them in obtaining learning skills that do not simply fade away with human forgetfulness. Further, the primary goal of teaching the students in order for them to pass the FCAT appears to be a wrong approach to education in general. On the other hand, teaching students with the curriculum mandated by the state reinforced with additional self-reliance for research and gathering data from a wide array of sources can make them surpass the FCAT and other scholarly tests with flying colors.
Although the research will probably create more questions than solutions, nevertheless the research is substantial in terms of providing another means in uplifting the quality of education received by students. LITERATURE REVIEW FCAT is considered as the cornerstone of the statewide educational appraisal and accountability scheme. The primary purpose behind the FCAT is to obtain two types of information. First is the that individual students, parents as well as teachers need the data derived from FCAT in order to supply information concerning student mastery of educational skills.
Further, the public requires the data obtained from FCAT in order to comprehend the educational health of learners and to deem schools as well as districts responsible for progress (FCAT Fact Sheet, 2005). In essence, FCAT determines the knowledge of the students and their comprehension in terms of writing and reading, mathematics as well as science content that are defined in the Sunshine State Standards which holds a direct connection with the questions placed in the FCAT. Table 1 Percent of Text Type on FCAT Reading Grade Level Literary Text Informational Text 3 60% 40%.
4 50% 50% 5 50% 50% 6 50% 50% 7 40% 60% 8 40% 60% 9 30% 70% 10 30% 70% For the most part, the Sunshine State Standards refer to the competencies as well as the skills that the students in the area of Florida should be capable of learning from a young age. This is defined by education specialists, practicing classroom lecturers, business individuals as well as the citizens of Florida. FCAT for writing is usually conducted during February while the test for science and mathematics as well as reading is conducted during March. However, the exact testing dates may vary depending on the date.
Students can also prepare for the test and achieve successful results by means of learning from the significant contents of the Sunshine State Standards through lectures from teachers. Benefits can also be obtained by the students from the available teaching resources that are free and are easy to use such as FCAT Explorer which is readily available over the internet through the Florida Department of Education. This can also be obtained from the existing reviews of the sample test booklets for the FCAT. The FACT Handscoring Process starts with the students from grades 3 to 11 who take the test every spring.
The grading scale of the test is determined and developed by the teachers and experts in Florida with the use of the answers of previous students. After training college graduates to precisely score, the set of evaluators are required to pass a qualifying exam which contains scoring with a minimum of 80 percent accuracy in order to initiate scoring. Before differences in scoring are addressed and settled by the director of the scoring process, a pair of evaluators score every question by their own where the agreement of the evaluators run at an average of 97 percent.
About 24 educators who have been trained have scanned every question by the time the FCAT handscoring procedure is finalized. Finally, the scores of the students are handed over to both teachers and the parents of the students. Dating back to 1998, the public schools in Florida have already been administered with the FCAT where the results of the FCAT determine the foundation for the accountability scheme of the respective school. Further, the FCAT for Grade 10 has eventually been transformed into the graduation test for high school students.
Ever since the FCAT has been implemented, concerns have been raised over the scheme, most of which come from both the education sector and the public. Oftentimes, these concerns are founded on myths rather than facts. In order to measure the portions of the SSS used by the State Board of Education, the FACT test elements were made, and that these elements in the test are at first written by commercial testing contractors which include CTB/McGraw-Hill as well as the Harcourt Educational Measurement. Yet these elements are placed under review and the revision coming from the staff of the Department of Education.
Also included are teachers who work in the FCAT Test Development Center and its headquarters located in Leon County School District as well as practicing teachers in classrooms in Florida schools and supervisors of the schools curriculum. Further, every school year is comprised of approximately 180 days where all of these days are allocated with six hours intended for instructional time. From the total of 1,080 hours, approximately eight to ten hours for a stretch of a number of days is required by the FCAT administration which in essence composes less than a percent of the overall time the learner is staying in school annually.
While it impacts every public school and nearly all students between Grades 3 to 10, the FCAT is the sole appraisal which is a worthwhile investment for just a fraction of the students time. The SSS was adopted by the State Board of Education as the foundation for public school education and was built up by educators in Florida as well as every school district that examined the SSS prior to being adopted. Moreover, the SSS do not symbolize anything that is atypical in the content of the curriculum.
Rather, the Standards are mere statements of what anyone would comprehend as proper things for students to learn and be able to fully grasp. With this, students will be capable of preparing themselves for the test if teachers are also able to give quality instruction in the specific subject they commonly teach. Each question in the FCAT is examined by a pair of community sensitivity reward panels to ensure that the test is not biased against any group or individual. In order to reinforce the attempt to remove any perceived biases in the FCAT, numerous item bias statistical examinations are carried out on every item in the test.
It has been observed that a number of students have not showed satisfactory performance in the FCAT no matter what their ethnic backgrounds are. While these students have not yet been able to acquire the needed learning in the aspects of writing and reading as well as mathematical skills, the job of teachers remains”to supply every student the chance to learn. The question on the reliability and validity of the FCAT rests on the idea whether the test score of the students are consistent and something which can be rightfully interpreted by individuals.
Indeed, the FCAT is able to satisfy both questions primarily because the FCAT is widely monitored for the credibility of its statistics and that the outcomes are elucidated in terms of technical reports. Further, the test nevertheless contains test validity that can be demonstrated in order to be able to provide an interpretation of the scores of every student which indicates the level they have been able to learn the necessary contents of writing, reading, mathematics as well as science.
While there are existing FCAT statutes that concern the passing of students, it does not, however, require the students to pass the FCAT in every grade level in order to be promoted to the proceeding level. On the other hand, the FCAT merely suggests in its statutes that students must be able to pass the test intended for Grade 10 in order to be eligible for a regular diploma in the high school level. The FCAT also suggests in its statutes that Grade 3 students who were not able to exhibit the necessary reading skills must be supplied with extra instructions prior to their promotion to the fourth grade.
One crucial aspect in determining the relative performance of students in the FCAT is that the mathematics section of the test computes the knowledge of the students and skills in the context of five fields in mathematics, one of which is Geometry. However, it does not imply nor is it explicitly stated that students are required to have obtained a course in Plane Geometry or other relevant subjects. It merely emphasizes the idea that the FCAT has several questions that concentrate on the concepts of geometry.
Inasmuch as the standards set forth in FCAT are applicable to any student who desires to obtain a regular diploma in high school, the FCAT cannot provide differing standards according to the various needs of a multitude of students. Nevertheless, the FCAT holds a combination of items where certain amounts are easy while there are challenging parts as well. As the State Board of Education establishes the passing scores based on the suggestions of the Commissioner of Education, students who take the test are not essentially anticipated to rightfully answer all of the items in the FCAT.
The tests intended for Grades 4, 5, 8, and 10 contain items that refer to performance and each of these grade levels contain approximately six to eight of these performance items. Every student is required in the FCAT to supply a written response or at least illustrate a solution to a problem in math. A test support contractor then scores the corresponding responses wherein the answers of every student are graded at various scoring locations across the country.
As a means to address the need for people who will score the FCAT, the test support contractor puts advertisements in numerous local newspapers and employs individuals who at least were able to obtain a baccalaureate degree. These individuals are required to partake in a critical training program and pass several qualifying examinations prior to their hiring. The task of the readers is placed under uninterrupted monitoring while they score the responses of the students for the FCAT. (FCAT Myths vs. Facts, 2005).