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March 20, 2014

Replacement for FCAT chosen

New assessment tool will assess student progress on new Florida Standards

Live Oak —

The Florida Department of Education has selected a replacement for the FCAT 2.0 exams to start with the 2014-15 school year, according to a statement from the FDOE.

“The new assessment will measure each child’s progress and achievement on the Florida Standards, which were developed with an unprecedented amount of public input,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. “This assessment supports our new standards, which emphasize flexibility for teachers to make their own decisions in classrooms while preparing our students to analyze and think.”

In August 2013, Governor Rick Scott convened the state’s top education leaders and bipartisan stakeholders to discuss the sustainability and transparency of the state’s accountability system in a three-day accountability summit.

Using input from the summit, Scott issued Executive Order 13-276, which initiated Florida’s departure from the national PARCC consortium as its fiscal agent, to ensure that the state would be able to procure a test specifically designed for Florida’s needs without federal intervention.

Scott also set out eight goals for the new assessment to ensure the best outcome for Florida students. Among those eight objectives were an emphasis on prompt reports of results, no significant change in testing time for students, no significant increase in costs of the assessments and an assurance that testing dates be as close as possible to the end of the school year to maximize learning opportunities. This assessment meets those goals.

Scott also requested additional public comments about the standards, which resulted in public hearings around the state and thousands of comments from Floridians. In February 2014, the State Board of Education approved changes to the standards that reflected the input. The new Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts stress a broader approach for student learning, including an increased emphasis on analytical thinking. With the new and more rigorous standards, a new assessment was needed to measure student progress.

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