Karen Yi reports in Florida’s Sun-Sentinel that the new Common Core tests will be harder and longer than the FCAT, and online. Expect the failure rate to increase. This is Jeb Bush’s hope, so parents will turn against public schools and seek charters or vouchers.
State’s new student tests will be longer, tougher
By Karen Yi Sun Sentinel
Florida students will take a new standardized state test this spring that’ll be more rigorous, slightly longer and mostly online.
These high-stakes exams, tied to tougher Common Core education standards, will replace the math, reading and writing portions of the FCAT. Schools are preparing now but say it is a big question mark how their students will perform — especially since the state has not come up with grading standards.
Here are some answers to commonly-asked questions about these new tests, which eventually will help determine school grades, teacher evaluations and pay.
Why did we get new standardized tests?
The tests, like the new K-12 education standards, focus on a deeper understanding of how things work and critical thinking skills. State officials say they are raising the bar so students are college and career ready.
What will be tested?
The Florida Standards Assessment will test students in grades 3-11 on math and language arts starting in March. The series of tests will also include a writing portion and end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry.
How is the test different from the FCAT?
The Florida Standards Assessment will test more students and require more computer-based exams.
Eleventh-graders will now have to take the reading portion of the test that includes a writing component. Before, only students up to the 10th grade were tested…
Those in grades 5-11 will take the tests on computers. Third- and fourth- graders and students taking the writing portion in grades 5-7 will stick to traditional paper and pencil tests.
The tests will be longer. The writing component will last 90 minutes, 30 minutes longer than FCAT. The reading and math portions will also be 20-40 minutes longer, depending on the grade level.
How will the questions be different?
Since most of the tests will be online, many of the questions will be interactive. That means fewer traditional multiple choice questions. The reading section includes a portion where students will listen to podcasts and answer questions. In math, students will be required to solve problems using basic computer skills such as dragging and dropping or sorting answers.
The writing component will no longer ask students to simply respond to a specific prompt. Students will read passages and be asked to compare and contrast, draw inferences and answer questions based on the text.
When will the tests start?
The writing portion will begin the first week of March. Testing will run through mid-May, with schools given about a three-week window to complete testing in each subject. The math, reading and writing portions take five days to complete….