FCAT Replaced By Florida Standards

Samantha Verdisco, Staff Writer

The Florida Standards, a new type of state testing, have replaced the FCAT. These exams have adopted and edited the national Common Core Curriculum, and are supposed to help students critically analyze reading and math problems.
The school district describes these as “rigorous” guidelines that will help prepare students for college and future careers.
“I think that the simplest way to describe it is teaching our students a variety of methods of learning,” said English teacher Rebekah Buskirk. “Instead of teaching just one method to everybody, you provide them with a different variety of methods so they can find the one that works the best.”

Buskirk has taught for twenty-five years, and considers the new curriculum an improvement to the county and Florida.

“We are asking them [students] to expand the way they look at material so that they try to see a question from different perspectives…it is a little more structured than it used to be,” she said.

Math teacher Lori Pursifull also believes these standards will challenge students to critically think and expand on their previous knowledge.

“The difference is that there is more application in the problems instead of just ‘here, solve an equation,’ it’s ‘here, solve a word problem,’” she said.

Although teachers have been informed on this new assessment, students still lack information on it, such as changed policies, passing requirements, and scoring.

“I do not know anything about Common Core curriculum. I guess I wasn’t informed about it… my teachers did not ever go over the new standards,” said junior, Jamal Williams. “I feel that we should have been taught, or at least informed about it so we can pass our standards.”

Freshman Elly Frierson, despite concerns, is eager to dump the FCAT and begin a different set of assessments.

“The teachers have not really told us about the new tests, but I was so tired of taking the FCAT,” she said. “I am excited to see the changes that they will make to it to focus more on applying what we learned this year.”

Frierson considers these adjustments as an opportunity for a fresh start.

“When you are going to high school, you do not want the same middle school tests about the same topics worded differently each year. It is a good change to begin my first year of high school with.”
After a long pause, she added:

“I am just glad to be rid of it [the FCAT].”