New replacement for FCAT ready for critique

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The FCAT is no more. Parents and students can now start preparing for the Florida Standards Assessment. And a sneak peek version of it is only a click away.

This week education officials unveiled the new Florida Standards Assessment. The 16-year-old Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is a thing of the past, as FSA testing kicks off this fall for the 2014-2015 school year. A version of the new test can be found on the Florida Department of Education website.

Parents like Meredith Mears of Tallahassee have fought for a change in the state's education system. She's not too fond of the new Florida Standards Assessment.

"After actually looking at the sample test, I was a bit concerned," she said. "Trying to read those questions were really ... I even had a hard time sometimes figuring out what you're trying to do, what they're asking you for."

So, why not try some of the tests yourself. Just go to the Training Tests section of the Florida Standards Assessment where you can login in as a guest.

"We've been commended as having some of the most open processes in the entire nation allowing educators to review and provide input," said Vince Verges, assistant deputy commissioner of the Department of Education.

The FCAT was met with lots of criticism. Opponents argued students were being taught how to pass a test, instead of fundamental material. There was also criticism for penalizing schools that failed the FCAT, which education officials say is no longer the case.

"I always think there's the criticism of teachers teaching to the test but we've been fairly consistent in emphasizing the standards," Verges said.

The Department of Education also says the new standards report scores more quickly and it can schedule tests toward the end of the year to maximize results.


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