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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is the end of the FCAT in sight?

Only nine years and thusands of childrens growth stunted to late. -cpg

From the Miami Herald


Saying the FCAT creates more harm than good, a freshman state legislator said Tuesday she is championing a bill in the House that would do away with the annual state exams.

But, kids, don't get your hopes up. It's not the first time a bill has been introduced in the state Legislature to end the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test -- and each attempt has failed.

Still, Rep. Daphne Campbell is not deterred.

``There's too much pressure on parents, students and teachers,'' Campbell said outside North Miami Senior High School on Tuesday afternoon as she promoted her bill. ``The bottom line is the FCAT is not helping.''

Campbell, a Democratic state representative for District 108, which includes North Miami, filed House Bill 71 in an effort to replace the FCATs with the High School Competency Test.

The HSCT was used from 1990 to 2000 in Florida as a requirement for graduation. It was given to 10th-graders to ensure they could perform at an eighth-grade level.

``There was no pressure like there is for the FCAT,'' Campbell said.

But proponents say the FCAT has given teachers a way -- if imperfect -- to measure students' year-to-year progress and to compare student achievement across the state.

Miami-Dade School Board member Wilbert ``Tee'' Holloway said he believes the state needs to take another look at an accountability exam, but does not agree with going back to the HSCT.

``Children don't come in a one-size-fits-all model,'' he said. ``There needs to be a better way to hold the children accountable for what they learn.''

Tom Butler, press secretary for the Florida Department of Education, said the FCAT has improved statewide standards.

``Since the establishment of the current system, we have seen dramatic increases in our academic performance, especially among our minority and other underrepresented students,'' Butler wrote in an e-mail.

Campbell said she agrees there needs to be accountability, but says too many students are failing out of school because they cannot pass the exam.

North Miami 10th-grader Monique Roberts, 15, said the FCAT does not test what students really learn.

``It's like the test comes out of nowhere,'' she said.

The FCAT tests students in reading and math from third- to 10th-grade. There are also science tests for students in grades five, eight, and 11 and writing exams for students in grades four, eight and 10.

Criticisms over the years have led the state to make tweaks to the 12-year-old FCATs, including more rigorous math and reading exams.

Now, the state is moving toward end-of-course exams for some high school classes, and new, more rigorous FCATs are being used at the elementary and middle school level.

State Board of Education Member Bob Martinez said he and does not see a chance of the FCATs being eliminated.

``There's as much chance of that happening as having a snow blizzard in Miami every day during the winter,'' he said.

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  1. As far as I'm concerned, State Board of Education Member Bob Martinez is completely ignorant.

    ``There's as much chance of that happening as having a snow blizzard in Miami every day during the winter,'' he said.

    He obviously doesn't have children, and if he does, I would hate to see what they go through.
    My son is 8 years old in the third grade. He has been stressing over this test so much the last two months, it's been absolutely nuts. He cries over things that just shouldn't be cried about, and now he's coming in my bedroom in the middle of the night, every single night and sleeping on the floor next to my bed. And no, there are no other problems going on with him. It's purely the stress of the FCAT.

    I read online somewhere that out of the 1080 hours of each school year, only 1% or 8-10 hours are to be spent preparing for this FCAT exam. I can tell you up front, that my son spends at MINIMUM one hour per week! It really irritates me that everything is all about funding, and nobody gives two hoots about the children anymore. Sooner or later, everyone will just take their kids out of school to home school them, and then you people can have all the funding you want with no children to teach!

    Start actually CARING about the kids!! There are so many kids that can get straight A's all year long, but the minute you put a test in front of them, they freeze and fail. I can't believe you people are so blind as to see that!!!

  2. i think FL is a joke far as having a system set up you can have a test but to test to see where there is a lack and get the children some HELP. Not fail them. I think it is very stressful. you need to teach our children what they need to learn not just on a Test FCAT. I think getting rid of this will save alot of $$ and stress for children, teachers and parents. you do not want to have to go through this from 3rd to 10th . No child left behind is a lie because if they pass in school and not pass this test you do leave them behind. So my thing is there is always a better solution to see how the children are doing in school but this way is not a good way. I think they need to listen to the parents, and teachers and the children because they are the ones that have to deal with it every single YEAR . the others are not there not taking the test every year there not there to see the children faces and parents faces hoping and praying there child pass who wants that .