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Goodbye FCAT and hello PARCC

caines | 4/11/2013, 5:30 a.m.

The good news is the Florida Department of Education [FLDOE] is phasing out the FCAT, which means students dont have to worry about passing this particular test in order to graduate from high school. The bad news is during the 2014-2015 school year the state will be implementing a more comprehensive set of requirements to complete graduation called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers [PARCC]. My concern is that these new policies means that the bar has been raised and some students may fall short, said Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools during the Community Accountability Summit held at the School Board Administration Building. This is fundamentally flawed. There was a time in Floridas school history where students just went to high school for four-years and graduated with their diploma but since the inception of the FCAT and now the PARCC, high school graduation is measured in a different fashion. For example, computer-based testing has become the new way of accessing students intellectual capacity. More and more computer-based test are being taken, said Gisela F. Feild, administrative director for assessment, research and data analysis for Miami-Dade County Public Schools. This is a very different mindset for kids to sit at a computer, taking tests for several hours. Additionally, there are socio-economic issues that need to be addressed because minority kids dont have access to computers, which clearly leaves them at a disadvantage. New regulations will require that students in the third grade start taking exams in English and will take exams in Language Arts and Math on computers. Middle school acceleration component calls for seventh grade students to be enrolled Please turn to PARCC 5C PARCC continued from 4C in Algebra, as well as take and pass Civics and History. Algebra, Geometry and Biology will replace the standardized Mathematics and Science components of the senior high school grades. The school grading scale is certainly of inferior quality, because every time the percentage of A and B schools reaches 75 percent in a current year, the minimum required points for grades of A, B, C, and D would be increased. Dr. Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, School Board Member (D-2) is very concerned about the PARCC and the negative implications it may have on the Black community. The community can look for several meetings we are planning concerning these new changes, Bendross-Mindingall said. We look forward to educating our community. The purpose of PARCC is to have a common set of state-endorsed standards and assessments to prepare students for college and 21st century careers. Furthermore, its designed so that American students will be held accountable, and able to compete globally with other nations that are scoring better on achievement tests. Now schools must have a minimum of 25 percent of their students proficient in reading in order to avoid a one letter grade drop. We support accountability, Carvalho said. Its necessary so that kids can compete in a global world. By Jimmie Davis, Jr.Miami Times staff writer