SEBRING — If kids get bored during the summer they can go online to take training tests on the new state assessment to get an idea on what they will be facing in the spring of 2015.
The Florida Department of Education opened a portal on Monday with resources for the Florida Standards Assessment, which replaces the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in the 2014-15 school year.
The portal includes training tests for writing, reading and math for various grade levels. These sample tests are not just a listing of questions, but are interactive and provide experience on the mechanics of taking the test.
Various information is available under tabs for parents and students, educators and test coordinators.
School Board of Highlands County Director of Secondary Programs Ruth Heckman said she learned about the portal Tuesday morning, but noted the biggest concern for parents is the number of assessments and what the new ones will look like compared to the ones students have been doing.
“Is it harder? Is it easier? Is it just different?,” those are the types of comments she has heard, Heckman said. “It’s just like anything else, when you do something new there are just concerns and questions.”
The new assessment portal features a color-coded chart showing what assessments will be given at each grade level over the next four years.
For example, the grade four mathematics test will be the new Florida Standards Assessment and will be a paper-based test in 2014-15 and 2015-16, but will be a computer-based test starting in 2016-17.
The following changes are noted for 2014-15:
•Grade five English language arts assessment will be computer-based for the first time.
•Grade seven math assessment will be computer-based for the first time.
•Grade eight math assessment will be computer-based for the first time.
•A new assessment for grade 11 - a computer-based English language arts assessment.
•A new computer-based algebra 2 end-of-course exam.
For parents and students it is noted that the guidelines for promotion and graduation will mostly remain the same.
Students entering third-grade in 2014-15, who have only been taught using the Florida Standards since kindergarten, will be required to achieve a certain score on the third-grade English language arts assessment in order to meet promotion requirements. Students may still meet promotion requirements if they qualify for one of six exemptions.
Students entering 10th-grade and/or taking algebra 1 in 2014-15 will be required to achieve a certain score on the 10th-grade English language arts and the algebra 1 assessments in order to meet graduation requirements.
The FCAT is not completely gone.
High school students trying to achieve the necessary score to graduate on their 10th-grade reading test will take the FCAT 2.0 to maintain consistency, according to the FDOE. The FCAT mathematics retake will be administered in the 2014-15 school year.
Also, the FCAT 2.0 science exam will be administered in grades five and eight.
The Florida Standards Assessments portal is online at www.fsassessments.org