Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart announced to Historic City News today that a new test has been selected to replace the FCAT 2.0 exams beginning with the 2014-15 school year; continuing historic steps to ensure all Florida children have the opportunity to succeed.
In February 2014, the State Board of Education approved changes to the standards that included unprecedented public input. The new Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts stress a broader approach for student learning, including an increased emphasis on analytical thinking. With the new and more rigorous standards, a new assessment was needed to measure student progress.
“The new assessment will measure each child’s progress and achievement on the Florida Standards, which were developed with an unprecedented amount of public input,” Stewart told local reporters. “This assessment supports our new standards, which emphasize flexibility for teachers to make their own decisions in classrooms while preparing our students to analyze and think.”
Governor Scott set out eight goals for the new assessment to ensure the best outcome for Florida students. Among those eight objectives were an emphasis on prompt reports of results, no significant change in testing time for students, no significant increase in costs of the assessments and an assurance that testing dates be as close as possible to the end of the school year to maximize learning opportunities.
The governor issued Executive Order 13-276, which initiated Florida’s departure from the national PARCC consortium as its fiscal agent, to ensure that the state would be able to procure a test specifically designed for Florida’s needs without federal intervention.
Vendor responses to the Invitation to Negotiate were received in December and reviewed by an evaluation team who narrowed the choice to three groups. Subsequently, a negotiation team unanimously recommended American Institutes for Research to Commissioner Stewart; who confirmed her selection of the not-for-profit organization today.
“The selection of our new assessment tool is a critical step forward,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gary Chartrand. “Florida students will now be assessed on their knowledge of the Florida Standards, which will prepare them for success in college, careers and in life.”