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Pencils Ready! FCAT Gets Underway in Florida

6:03 PM, Apr 11, 2011   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Students across Florida are taking the FCAT, or the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test starting today.

According to the state website, the FCAT  is administered to students in grades 3 - 11. It says about 200,000 students per grade level take the test in this state.

It says, "The FCAT measures the Sunshine State Standards in reading and mathematics (grades 3-10), science (grades 5, 8, & 11), and writing (grades 4, 8, & 10)."

About 1.8 million Florida public school students will be taking the state's key standardized tests during the next two weeks.

The Duval County Public Schools Website says, "Spring 2011 marks the first time students will be tested on the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards."

The website goes on to explain that in order to evaluate the new standards, new assessments to measure student success were created.

Duval County Schools Officials recommend students get plenty of sleep tonight, and advise parents not to put more pressure on students. A good breakfast on Monday morning is also recommended by school officials.

"They are prepared. have a good relaxing weekend, a good breakfast in the morning, and relaxing sleep tonight," said Duval Schools spokesperson Jill Johnson.

Duval Schools have been encouraging students for days by hanging signs around schools and holding rally's to "Attack the FCAT."

Students taking the test will see a new version, called FCAT 2.0 which uses the new Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. It is expected to be tougher.

"A lot of people have said that this test does look like its going to be harder this year. But, I think the teachers have been prepping the kids for that all year long." 

Johnson said FCAT scores determine how a school is graded. With several school failing or in danger of failing, it is a crucial week.

"Those scores will determine whether or not they stay on the Intervene list next year. So we'll find that out sometime in late June," said Johnson.

Mandarin 6th Grade Student Julian Herrera has been getting tutored for a few weeks and feels ready.

"I've never taken one, so this is going to be my first time. I don't think its going to be stressful, but its not going to be that hard," said Herrera.

Students at Martin Luther King Elementary are hoping their FCAT scores will help maintain the "A" the school earned last year.

Principal Carolyn Laws said she is stressing to parents the importance of children being in school this week, plus being well rested.

"A lot of times they (students) nervous and get intense," said Laws.

Laws believes it is important for parents to keep things calm at home and give their children extra encouragment espeically this week during FCAT.

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.

First Coast News

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