Beginning in 2015, students will take the Florida Standards Assessments instead of the FCAT.
The Florida Standards Assessments is a suite of reading, writing and math tests designed to measure student performance. The test is tied to Florida’s Common Core-based standards, which outline what students should know at the end of each grade. Students will take a reading test each year in grades 3 through 10. The test still has some traditional multiple choice questions, but many take advantage of computer-based testing to include multimedia and interactivity.
A parent asked us on Facebook: “Please find out for us parents of third graders, who face mandatory retention if they fail the new reading assessment this spring, how the state plans to deal with them. Will they return to 3rd grade after the cut scores are determined in Winter 2015?”
The bottom line: third graders can still be held back next year if they score the equivalent of a 1, out of 5, on the reading test. But those students are still eligible to to advance to fourth grade through one of state’s exemptions, including a portfolio or passing an alternative exam. State officials will determine whether a third grader is at risk of being retained through something known as equipercentile ranking.
Florida Department of Education officials say that means the same percentage of third graders could be retained for their scores on the new Florida Standards Assessments this school year, as those who scored a 1 on the now-replaced FCAT reading exam last school year.
In 2014, 19 percent of third graders scored a 1 on the FCAT reading exam. Between 2011 and 2013, 18 percent of third graders scored a 1 on the exam. Historically, about 7 percent of third graders repeat the grade.
School leaders say parents should plan ahead if they’re worried their child might score a 1 on the Florida Standards Assessments.
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