FAQ about the FCAT Testing, Scoring & the "Writing"
How FCAT Writing is scored
2. About the FCAT Writing test
3. Who takes FCAT?
HOW DOES THE FCAT COMPARE NATIONALLY?
"The norm referenced items are part of the FCAT. It is one test. Each
student receives a report on performance on both the norm-referenced
portion AND the state standards. Your district test administrator should
have district and school results.
The reason students are tested on both is because we want to know two
types of information: How do they compare with students nationwide AND
how are they performing on our state standards. If we only used a norm-referenced
test, it would be much closer to minimum performance standards.
So having both types of information tell us more about students."
~ words from Dept. of Education Office of School Improvement, Andrea (this was taken about in 2002)
FCAT & GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS:
Student graduation requires passing the HSCT in 11th grade or passing
the FCAT in 10th grade. If a student fails, a student may
retake the FCAT. A 10th grader this year will be allowed
to take the FCAT 6 times prior to his/her graduation date. After the
March in 2001, another will be offered in October 2001. After
that the dates have not been set.
WHO TAKES FCAT?
WHO IS TESTED?
"Most students, including Limited English Proficient (LEP) and Exceptional
Student Education (ESE) students, enrolled in the tested grade levels
participate in the FCAT administration. Special accommodations are available
and provided to ESE and LEP students." This is taken from DOE
Students classified as ESOL
take the FCAT; however, scores for students in an ESOL program less
than two years are not included in an individual school's performance
grade. (See s. 229.57(3)(7) and 6A-1.09981 (3)(a) FAC -- a State Board
of Education rule) The scores are in the "total total" scores the districts
receive. Students receiving ESOL services do generate additional dollars
above the base student allocation but not as part of the exceptional
student education funding matrix for services. The specific citation
for this calculation is found in s. 236.081(1)(c) & (d), Florida Statutes.
into a school after October will take the FCAT, HOWEVER, their scores
will not count towards the school grade.
3 - 10th grade take FCAT reading, math and Florida Writes tests (statewide
assessments) unless their IEP indicates that they should not.
For more information, see:
http://fcat.fldoe.org/ Look particularly for FCAT
Myths vs. Facts and the FCAT Briefing Book as well as other interesting
pieces about FCAT.
SCHOOL GRADES & FCAT
The school grading rule is found in 6A-1.09981 There
must be 30 student scores in the group for a grade to be able to be
generated. Schools that serve very special populations where the majority
of students receive intensive exceptional student education services
or the site is a true alternative school where students flow in and
out for short periods of time may not be graded.
INITIAL AND SECONDARY RELEASE OF FCAT SCORES
I was told that the newly
released FCAT scores are "raw" scores and that some scores will be deleted.
One school expected about 70 scores to be dropped. Is this true?
"The recent FCAT scores are "total total" scores--they show scores for
every single child who took the test. School grades are based on the
results of eligible students--all special ed kids' scores do not count
in the school's grade, kids have to be there in both October and February,
etc. So it is very possible and most probable that the school
grades--when all factors are considered--would be different from the
raw or total-total scores recently released." ~ Andrea Willett, DOE
READING THE PERFORMANCE LEVELS
Question: "In levels,
level 1 and 2 seems to be below grade level from what I read on the
DOE FCAT info page. Would the highest of level 2 indicate perhaps a
next grade level lower reading ability? We have about 40% reading at
level one. Now I know that category would have a wide performance gap
since it is the bottom. However, what would be the top achievement of
a level one? I.E. grade 10 level 1 would perhaps have the highest score
in that category to equate perhaps a grade 8 or 6 reading level."
"Each performance level at each grade level has a range of scale
scores within that level. The ranges are adopted by the State Board
of Education in rule 6A-1.09422. We don't have
the type of grade equivalent measures you describe for these scores.
However, like grade equivalents, looking at the range of the scale score
(like looking at the grade equivalent of 3.1 vs. 3.6) can give you an
indication of where the student's score falls within the performance
level and how close they might be to a different performance level.
Each student's individual report describes the range for that child's
score. Did you read the explanation at
http://www.firn.edu/doe/sas/fcat/pdf/fcrpdes.pdf that may
help too. " ~ Andrea Willett, DOE
QUESTION: "Can anyone
enlighten me as to whom and what credentials they possess, are employed
in the scoring process for the writing portion of FCAT? This is or was
the Florida Writes program."
|Answer from a FL-SAC member
"All persons who score FCAT are called "readers"
and are required to have earned a bachelor's degree in a field related
to the tasks being scored. Readers are hired using a screening
process to ensure that they meet the minimal education requirements.
The screening process must also include an interview and an evaluation
of the applicants written response to FCAT performance tasks like the
ones the reader will be expected to score. Applicants who are
accepted are trained to use the rubric by scoring sample papers. After
training, each applicant must take a test to qualify as a reader. All
applicants must score 70% exact agreement with a set of papers previously
scored by Florida educators. This process is repeated for each prompt,
each year. That is, Florida educators (classroom teachers and district
curriculum supervisors) score a set of papers for each prompt each year,
and these papers are used to train and qualify readers. Applicants
who do not qualify are dismissed and paid for time served." ~ K
|"J," a FL-SAC member says,
"As a past FCAT Writes Range Finder, the process for scoring FCAT Writes
goes like this:
"First, a test prompt is given to approximately 1500
students, then a group of English teachers, Language Arts Supervisors,
and test administrators, sit for four days from 8 to 5 and read the
1500 papers together assigning a score from the rubric and determining
the parameters for each score. If the prompt is valued as a good one,
it becomes the prompt for that year. Student papers are then graded
by two readers. Readers are made up of retired educators and/or college
degreed applicants who go through a two week training period on how
to score the essays. If one reader gives a paper a 6.0 and another gives
it a 5.0, the paper is awarded a 5.5. If one gives it a 6.0, and another
a 4.0, the paper goes to a third grader, and then to a committee for
review. If a scorer consistently (5 papers) scores papers incorrectly,
the scorer is pulled and dismissed. All of the papers scored by that
scorer are returned to the bin for regarding."
|Vic, a FL-SAC member, adds:
"In response to a couple of inquiries from members,
here's what I know about the organization that scores the FCAT writing
exam, (nee Florida Writes):
The company that does the scoring, on a contract with State Ed. Dept.,
is -- or was just before FCAT began -- Measurement Inc. I don't believe
it's local but does have a permanent office in Tampa.
Scorers are hired on a project basis, (4-6 weeks generally). Bachelor
degree is required. The first day of the project is orientation of all
who have passed the initial screening for qualifications. The next two
days are practice scoring sessions with prototype tests and substantial
time devoted to explanation of how the scoring rubric works and why
it works that way. At the end of the two days, those who are not able
to master the concept of the scoring rubric are paid for the three days
and excused. Probably 10 - 20% of the roomful of applicants are in that
As the scoring begins "for real", scorers are divided into groups of
8-12 people, with a veteran as team leader. Every paper is read by one
scorer in each of two teams. If the scores assigned to any paper by
the two scorers differ by more than a full point, then the two team
leaders negotiate and, if they can't agree on a score, the decision
is made by the staff member coordinating the project. The rubric, as
most of you know, is a six point scale, with scoring done by half-points:
1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, . . . .etc.
None of the papers scored in the Tampa facility are from schools in
any of the Bay Area counties. Of course, none are identified with either
a student name or school identification."
"The Florida Writes Assessment test began in the
fall of 1990 to measure your child's "true" ability in writing, something
that traditional multiple choice tests failed to do. Direct writing
assessment applies many of the principles used by exemplary teachers
to develop effective writing. The strength of large-scale assessment
is that all student papers are scored against a common standard.
Understanding what that common standard is can be the key to your sophomore's
success on the Florida Writes test. Writing has many different
forms. The Florida Writes test measures one form--essay writing, and
it is even limited to two types, persuasive and informative. It measures
a student's ability to write well in these two areas in a timed situation.
" ~ quoted from a FL-SAC member and teacher
||FL-SAC member wrote about the FCAT:
1. "There is a norm-referenced component of FCAT that allows each Florida
student to be compared to a national norm.
2. I would urge you to review the Sunshine State Standards and grade
level expectations before you dismiss them. They are NOT what we all
learned in school 30 years ago. You can read all about them and
print copies at the web site:
3. With regard to teaching to the test, I certainly HOPE teachers are
teaching reading, writing and math. I send both my children to school
to learn those things. As far as I'm concerned, the FCAT should be a
blip on the radar screen because my expectations for my kids and their
teachers are much higher. But the FCAT is an excellent external check
on the system for ALL children."
More FCAT, Sunshine Standards, with
"Florida developed the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) to set clear targets
for what Florida students need to know and be able to do. The standards
have been reviewed nationally and are aligned to other states in that
a student achieving the SSS is prepared to be successful wherever that
student may go in the future. The FCAT measures a student's progress
towards these standards; hence, it is a "Florida" test. So, since Florida's
accountability system was designed with the idea that our students do
not always stay in Florida, and since the standards have a "national"
flavor, it is with some measure of confidence that we can offer the
test results and make some decisions about student and school performance
based on those measures. Florida teachers have risen to the challenge
of changing the way they deliver instruction to meet the higher expectations
of the SSS. I have confidence that they will continue to do so--we have
a wonderful cadre of teachers in this state and they are working very
hard to meet the needs of every child."~ Andrea
In Osceola High School students in the 10th
grade, first semester, FCAT wheel class ...well, any parent who refuses
to have their child enroll/take this class must sign a form/waiver that
states that they, the parent, assumes all responsibility for their child
passing the FCAT as a graduation requirement. This hold the parent accountable.
(~submitted by Nina C. Kissimmee)
||The state does not require 1st or 2nd grade
testing. (~ submitted by Kathy M., Leon Co.)