March 16, 2009

Illustration of the Problem

Everyone in the state of Florida has heard of the infamous standardized test called the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). All students between third and tenth grade are required to take the standardized test. Then the state uses their results to generate a letter grade. This letter grade represents the overall quality of the public school, including teacher performance and student achievement. In addition, the FCAT is closely tied to “school financial incentive” (Daylor 1). This is shown through “the higher the school grade, the greater the funding given to the school” (Dermer 1).

Miami-Dade County Public Schools attempt to teach their students the necessary knowledge needed for after school. In order to ensure their student’s achievement, the county purchased the Hansen’s software. The software keeps “track of student performance and standardized tests” (Dermer 1). The county plans on using the software to measure schools’ progression and continue improvement within the school.

Despite the fact that Miami-Dade County is attempting to improve the schools, there is one school in particular that deteriorating. In 2007, Miami Beach Senior High School’s grade fell from a “C” to a “D”. Critics believe that the cause of this decline is the FCAT (Dermer 1). Another contributing factor to the decline at Beach High is that many students were not properly taught the basics. Activities Director at the school believes that “the problem lies within the early years of learning” (Dermer 1). Teachers are being forced to teach mainly on FCAT material, in hope of increasing the school’s reputation. However, this is not beneficial to the students. More and more students are becoming intimidated by the standardized test, thus causing them to perform lower than their potential.

It is clear that Beach High is in well needed financial help. If the school received more funds, then the school could spend more money on improving the school. Better teachers could be hired and ore extensive programs. State legislatures need to be more cautious about our education and future generations. No state standardized test can accurately measure a student’s intelligence or a teacher’s performance.


Failing School Grades Set Off FCAT Debate
FCAT... Fair or Flawed?

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