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FCAT Has too Much Weight, Union Says

The Pasco County School Board is being asked to tell the state to change its ways.

 

Just days after the Florida Department of Education announced more than two thirds of , a local teachers union is calling on officials to get the state to deemphasize the test’s weight.

According to The Tampa Tribune, Lynne Webb, president of United School Employees of Pasco, is asking the county’s school board to pass a resolution telling the state to reduce the weight standardized tests carry.

"It hasn't helped students," the Tribune quoted Webb as saying. "It hasn't helped teachers be better at their profession. And it costs millions of taxpayer dollars."

What do you think the state should do with the FCAT and other standardized tests? Are they a fair measure of student ability? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

News that the writing portion of the FCAT broke earlier this week. Students were graded more strictly this year in areas such as grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Pasco County Schools Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said the rules of the game changed without allowing teachers enough time to correct their course and prepare students.

"Children have not suddenly grown dumb," Webb said.

In response to the failing grades, the state made an for this year’s test. The result is roughly an 80 percent pass rate, which matches last year’s testing results.

If Pasco fulfills Webb’s request, it will join St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties in telling the state standardized tests shouldn’t serve as such a strong measure of student performance or ability.

Last year, on all portions of the new FCAT 2.0 test. The science portion, however, gave the district some trouble. The overall pass rate was less than 50 percent.

The validity of some questions on standardized tests has also fallen under scrutiny in recent months. NCS Pearson, the creator of the FCAT and other similar tests, has taken shots for including on some of its exams.

Hello May 17, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Now Lynne wants to fight? Why didn't she fight for other assessments to be used for the eval. process. Several other districts in the state used Core K-12, FAIR, Stanford and others. This union leader does not fight when she needs to.
Robin Harris May 17, 2012 at 06:20 PM
perhaps if the teachers weren't teaching FOR the tests and teaching the students what they need to learn all year round then they wouldn't have to " correct their course and prepare students". It is a shame that spelling and grammar are no longer graded until high school...and now we see just how bad the problem really is. These tests should have been thrown out a long time ago. They do not work!
lorrie rizzotto May 18, 2012 at 02:33 AM
My daughters went from private to public school, they had testing in private school but they never felt any pressure from it. It was used as a benchmark, a guide to let the school know how everyone was doing, teachers and students. There needs to be some sort of measurement, and it may be a test. But so much should not way on the scores of the test. Some people have test anxiety, someone could be having a bad day, you can't have so much weighing on one test.

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