In regards to Testing Services, the Department of Education provides a wide range of services to Florida schools, school districts, community colleges, universities, and students including school accountability and testing of students, teachers, and principals. The Office of Assessment provides testing services for the following examinations: FCAT, FCAT 2.0, EOCs, NAEP, PSAT/PLAN, FTCE, FELE, CLAST, CPT, and the Exit Test. The Office of Student Achievement through Language Acquisition provides testing services for CELLA. The Office of Early Learning provides testing services for FLKRS. Career and Adult Education provides testing services for the GED.
The previous paragraph is evidence to the fact that there is a “whole lot” of testing going on in Florida Public Schools as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) has been an obsession and a nightmare for parents, students, teachers and administrators. The FCAT began in 1998 as part of Florida's overall plan to increase student achievement by implementing higher standards. When in full implementation, the FCAT was administered to students in grades 3-11 and consisted of criterion-referenced assessments in mathematics, reading, science, and writing, which measured student progress toward meeting the Sunshine State Standards (SSS) benchmarks.
Along the Treasure Coast (as did across the state), teachers in Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties began to live and breathe for the preparation of the FCAT each year with teachers teaching the test and some elementary students playground time (much needed physical activity) being substituted for more time to work for the test while parents became mortified as students apprehensions and even fear of FCAT testing increased. The focus was more on the testing and not necessarily the learning as far as priority to each student’s education.
During the 2010-11 school year, Florida began the transition from the FCAT to the FCAT 2.0 and Florida End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments. Selected grades and subjects participated in FCAT assessments until the final transition was complete. The FCAT Mathematics Retake has been administered in the spring (and will be in the fall) of 2014 and for the last time in spring of 2015. Many will say “good riddance to bad options”.
NEA Launches Campaign to End 'Toxic Testing' is an article in the July Issue of NEA Today by Cindy Long and Sara Robertson which states that delegates to the National Education Association’s annual meeting in July voted to launch a national campaign to put the focus of assessments and accountability back on student learning and end the "test, blame, and punish" system that has dominated public education in the last decade. The campaign will among other things seek to end the abuse and overuse of high-stakes standardized tests and reduce the amount of student and instructional time consumed by them.
The article goes on to say that the anti-toxic testing measure also calls for governmental oversight of the powerful testing industry with the creation of a “testing ombudsman” by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. The position will serve as a watchdog over the influential testing industry and monitor testing companies’ impact on education legislation. NEA will continue to push the president and Congress to completely overhaul ESEA and end mandates that require yearly testing, and to lift mandates requiring states to administer outdated tests that aren’t aligned to school curricula.
“It’s past time for politicians to turn their eyes and ears away from those who profit from over-testing our students and listen instead to those who know what works in the classroom,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. Take Back Our Schools! Join NEA’s national campaign to put the focus of public education back on student learning.
It is time we unify across the nation for the sake of providing quality education and not degradation of our schools in the learning process by over and excessive testing which has not been justified or verified in reaping conclusively, positive overall and individual achievement production.
ABOUT SLIDESHOW PHOTOS: MIAMI, FL - MAY 22, 2003: Protesters hold signs in rally outside Governor Jeb Bush's Miami office announcing a boycott of major Florida industries and demanding he grant amnesty to high-school seniors who will not get their diplomas because they have not passed the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
REF: NEA TODAY http://www.nea.org/
REF: Florida Department of Education http://www.fldoe.org/testing/
REF: Florida Department of Education http://fcat.fldoe.org/fcat/
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