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Reports from Policy Analysts

New state assessment replacing FCAT 2.0

Submitted On: Saturday, June 21, 2014

Analyst: Bajwa, Shazia

Florida commissioner of education announced in March 2014 that a new assessment will replace the current state assessment, Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT 2.0).   The new assessment is designed by The American Institutes for Research (AIR), a nonprofit behavioral and social science research and evaluation organization.  The new assessment will measure students' ability to think critically, create graphs, and interact with test content in different ways.  This is a shift from the traditional (multiple choice only) test. 

To prepare students for the new assessment, schools are adopting digital texts for English Language Arts (ELA).  Some districts are introducing updated technology to students entering 6th grade and 9th grade ELA classes.  Students will interact with the digital resources to demonstrate mastery in critical thinking skills, text-based writing, and multimedia literacy.

The AIR assessment is currently being field-tested out of state.  Under the normal circumstances, field testing takes place within the state that will be implementing the assessment.  The state of Florida did not adopt Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and instead designed derivatives of the Common Core State Standards that will meet the educational needs of the student population within its state. 

In addition, AIR also developed Florida's Value Added Model (VAM) scores for teachers, which assess how effective teachers are in student achievement.  The VAM score is calculated into the annual teacher evaluation.

Sources of information:

Strauss, Valerie.  “Guess where Florida is field testing its new standardized tests? (Not Florida)." The Washington Post . April 14, 2014.


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