School Districts Question Validity Of FCAT Results

July 15, 2010

Several school districts in Florida are questioning the validity of recently released FCAT results.

The Florida Department of Education has secured yet another outside party to review the scores of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test after school districts complained that an independent auditor was a subcontractor of Pearson, the state contractor who administers and grades the FCAT.

Glitches in a Pearson program resulted in delays of the test results and when they were delivered, five districts still questioned their validity.

Education Commissioner Eric Smith said he was sure the results were accurate, but that a third party vendor, HumPRO would conduct another independent review of the test scores. The schools cried foul though when it was revealed that HumPro was a subcontractor for Pearson.

DOE spokesman Tom Butler said Wednesday that the department was aware of the connection. But that the department required Pearson, in its initial bid to administer the FCAT, to provide a subcontractor who would independently verify the results.

“They report their results directly to Florida DOE to ensure independence from contractor influence,” Butler said in an email. The department also has contracted with the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment to provide another independent analysis of the results.

Escambia and Santa Rosa counties are not currently among the districts questioning this year’s FCAT results.

by The News Service Florida


12 Responses to “School Districts Question Validity Of FCAT Results”

  1. Stephanie on July 24th, 2010 7:20 pm

    I am in 5th grade and I got a 2 on reading. What years do you get held back if you get those kind of scores?

  2. David Huie Green on July 19th, 2010 5:01 pm

    “Any suggestions?”

    Yep, challenge the results.

    It’s possible to make good grades simply because the teacher was lenient, but if you believe you understood the questions and that your answers were correct, challenge the folks. They already did a poor job of getting results back. They may have mis-graded too.

    I knew of a student whose grade was lower than she had ever earned before in her life. Her mother went to the teacher and asked to see her grade book.

    The teacher responded, “Why? I can put anything down in the grade book I want to.”

    The parent thought about it and gave up.

    I wish she hadn’t given up so quickly. The teacher could have read the grade from the student above or below the correct kid. Mistakes happen. It’s reasonable to check if they did.

    (One time I was subbing at Sid Nelson High School and marked an absence in the wrong place. I caught it by the next day and notified the administration of the error. They explained to be extremely careful about that because most of those children were either to be in class or in jail. That may have been the time the parents beat up the student, thinking he had skipped class again. Or maybe they just told me about it happening for some other sweetling. It all runs together.)

    David for care and corrections

  3. current GBHS student on July 19th, 2010 9:58 am

    I took a 2 block reading class last year. I made A’s and B’s on the FCAT Reading practice that we did for about a month and a half. When I took the FCAT Reading, I read the material, understood it, answered it, and even went back to double check. Most of them made since for the correct answer. But I still got a level 1. I don’t get it at all. I’m really hoping that my test scores are invalid because I want to take my 2 AFJROTC classes this year. I was really looking forward to those two classes. Any suggestions?

  4. Frustrated on July 17th, 2010 10:13 am

    I have a really big problem with a ONE DAY TEST that decides a child’s future and declares their worth. I do fully inderstand why they needed to implement this test….however, I do not think the student’s entire academic future should be put on this test..

    It seems that it should be averaged in to the grade with the semester grades. THis would then tell if the student really did not know the material or if they just did not do well on the test.

    It makes sense that there is test anxiety among the students…the teachers are forced to constantly remind them of the importance of doing well on the test since their job is based on the progress of the students,

    Something needs to be changed! This system is not working and we are spending a very large amount of money to make this test happen.

  5. Angi♥ on July 17th, 2010 9:13 am

    I agree 100%, I think this FCAT is rediculous! It puts so much pressure on these students, to think ” Ok! I have made straight A’s this whole year, but if I don’t pass this FCAT I am going to fail and not move on to the next grade with my friends.” Can you just imagine what stress this puts on a child? Beside’s the fact of the FCAT’s getting graded and sent back, taking forever to do so!!! I have yet to find my child’s FCAT scores, even after calling several schools! I remember one year we had access to going online and seeing our childs scores, some places mail the FCAT scores to your house; why don’t they all do that?! Since the students are pushed so hard to take this testing, don’tcha think they are at least a little bit curious to know how they did? I know me as a parent, I would like to know how my child did. Even though making straight A’s all year long!!!

  6. David Huie Green on July 16th, 2010 12:19 pm

    I was subbing at Ernest Ward High School a number of years back when some fellow from the Air Force was trying to explain the ASVAB results to those who had taken it. He explained it indicated where they might be better placed–especially within the Air Force. The test wasn’t perfect but it would give them some idea.

    One kid raised his hand to question the results.

    “Well, maybe you had a bad day that day.”

    “No. What I want to know is why I did so well on the language skills part and I’m failing English.”

    I could tell that wasn’t the most common problem. Most people griped it showed they weren’t doing as well as their grades showed.

    I wonder if they could replace the FCAT with the ASVAB.

    David for perfect tests
    and perfect people

  7. wtg on July 15th, 2010 6:08 pm

    So millions of dollars in education funding can’t produce an accurate assessment of student progress? Nope… but it sure did sell a lot of text books.

  8. Bratt Mama on July 15th, 2010 3:27 pm

    The FCAT actually interferes with our kids’ education because the curriculum is completely centered around it. It certainly isn’t an objective gauge of what the kids are learning, as it was originally supposed to be. It is really quite unethical for the schools to base what they teach on the material that the FCAT covers. I agree with getting rid of the FCAT. If the schools feel they need to give a standardized test, use a more objective one, like the IOWA test of basic skills, or something else along those lines.

  9. concerned mom on July 15th, 2010 3:14 pm

    I have a straight “A” student who took FCAT in 3rd grade and did not pass it. I insisted that she not be held back; however, she went to summerschool and passed with flying colors. I believe we need to bind together as parents and have this assessment test removed. I do understand that there should be an assessment test given to make sure our teachers and staff are doing their job, but not a pass/fail situation. We have had smart, young ladies and gentlemen that succeed very well without the stress of FCAT!!!

  10. Susan on July 15th, 2010 11:56 am

    Nicole, I’m with ya!

  11. Nicole on July 15th, 2010 9:15 am

    I will give my vote to the official who plans to eliminate this insanely pointless test…. I don’t care if he is democrate or republican, he/she will have my vote. I hope others are with me on this.

  12. times r changing (sent by BlackBerry) on July 15th, 2010 8:03 am

    It’s time to trash can the FCAT. It’s never helped a student succeed, just hold them back, it makes them feel unworthy and useless. Let’s take care of our children! NOW!

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