LAW AIMS TO DECLAW FCAT MANIA
Tampa Tribune -- July 20, 2008
By Catherine Dolinski


Tallahassee -- Florida schools that rally, drill and otherwise throw
themselves into an FCAT frenzy may have to exercise more control, now
that new test-prep restrictions have become law.

FCAT skeptics say the new policy is a triumph, inthat it acknowledges
there is too much focus on the high-stakes test. But they question how
much practical effect the law will have, given the myriad exceptions
that lawmakers built into it.

Parents and students have complained for years about the class time that
some teachers spend on sample Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test
questions and other test-prep activities.

Teachers have likewise complained, saying they didn't get into the
education business to devote so much energy to a standardized test, as
required by some principals. The spread of FCAT pep rallies, while
intended to encourage students, has likewise come under fire for
detracting from regular classwork.

"My own children complain every year about the amount of time diverted
from what they feel is real instruction, " said Sherman Dorn, an
education professor at the University of South Florida who specializes
in school accountability. "The issue is, how do we balance a legitimate
need for accountability against the need not to obsess about test
scores? No test is going to tell you everything about a child's education."

Read rest Of Story

http://www2. tbo.com/content/ 2008/jul/ 20/me-law- aims-to-declaw- fcat-mania/ ?news-metro

It is both a requirement of state law and local school board
policy that all eligible students participate in the state student
assessment program or FCAT. While there is no state requirement
that students who fail to participate in the FCAT must be retained,
that could be a district requirement under the school board's
student progression plan. The state has not set penalties for failure
to participate in FCAT, but a school board may do so. It is the student
who must demonstrate that he or she is ready for the work of the next
grade in order to be promoted.

Michael Tremor, Ph.D.
Education Policy Consultant
Curriculum and Instruction
Florida Department of Education

There is no law that says a student will be retained at any grade simply
because they do not take the FCAT. Other assessments will be used to
determine if the student is ready to be promoted, but demonstrating the
student's level of proficiency for promotion, as provided in the school
district student progression plan, is required. The student must
demonstrate that he or she is ready for promotion. The burden does not
fall on the school district to demonstrate that he or she is not ready for
promotion.

Michael Tremor, Ph.D.
Education Policy Consultant
Curriculum and Instruction
Florida Department of Education

VOTE IN CAROL CASTAGNERO FOR FLORIDA HOUSE DISTRICT 64