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Digging in Your Data Understanding the FCAT Results Kathy Corder

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Digging in Your Data Understanding the FCAT Results Kathy Corder. About the FCAT. It was specifically created to examine students increasing abilities to comprehend complex text.

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Digging in Your Data

Understanding the FCAT Results

Kathy Corder


About the FCAT

  • It was specifically created to examine students increasing abilities to comprehend complex text.
  • The FCAT test questions and prompts are written to measure benchmarks from the Sunshine State Standards that identify expectations of knowledge and skills to be performed by students in reading, mathematics, writing, and science at various grade levels.
  • The FCAT was designed to represent the kinds of tasks and activities that parents and teachers expect as part of good instruction. In the FCAT Mathematics, Reading, and Science tests, this is accomplished by presenting on the test the types of information and questions that students encounter in the classroom.
about the fcat
About the FCAT
  • The FCAT demands a more in-depth understanding and application of information than is typical of many standardized tests. The FCAT Mathematics, Reading, and Science tests require students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information and to apply strategies or procedures they have learned.
  • The Sunshine State Standards define the content standards for which test items are developed. The Sunshine State Standards identify the knowledge and skills that students are expected to acquire and include an expectation that students become creative and critical thinkers.
complexity levels of fcat selections
Complexity Levels of FCAT Selections
  • Low complexity items rely heavily on recall and recognition.
  • Moderate complexity items require more flexible thinking and may require informal reasoning or problem solving.
  • High complexity items are written to elicit analysis and abstract reasoning.
The FCAT SSS student report includes "scale scores" that range from 100 to 500 for the reading test and the mathematics test.
  • This scale is used for each grade tested; however, it is not easy to know whether a student has made progress using only the 100 to 500 score. For example, a fourth grader may earn a score of 280 in reading and the next year earn a score of 300 in fifth grade reading. It may look like the student made only a little progress, but, in fact, the student probably made at least a year\'s worth of progress.
  • To better understand whether a student is "gaining" in achievement, we must use a different kind of score called a "developmental score."

A "developmental score" has been created to help parents and others understand students\' year-to-year progress.

Developmental scores range from 0 to about 3000. Students should receive higher scores as they move from grade-to-grade according to their increased achievement.

Parents and educators can use the developmental scores to monitor academic progress each year.


What do the FCAT results tell us?

1. More explicit instruction and guided practice in the use of reading comprehension strategies

2. Increasing the amount of open, sustained discussion of content and ideas from text.

3. Maintaining high standards for the level of conversation, questions, vocabulary, that are used in discussions and in assignments

4. Adopting instructional methods that increase student engagement with text and motivation for reading

5. More powerful teaching of content and use of methods that allow all to learn critical content


We must find a way to deliver more intensive, more powerful instruction to students reading below grade level, because they must accelerate in their development.


The consequences of early and continuing reading difficulties

Lack of reading practice-affects fluency

Lack of wide reading-affects growth of vocabulary and knowledge of the world

Lack of wide reading- affects growth of strategic reading skills

Limited reading of classroom assignments- affects growth of essential knowledge

Loss of interest in reading and learning


Primary Characteristics of Struggling Readers in Middle and High School

They are almost always less fluent readers—sight word vocabularies many thousands of words smaller than average readers

Usually know the meanings of fewer words

Usually have less conceptual knowledge

Are almost always less skilled in using strategies to enhance comprehension or repair it when it breaks down

Will typically not enjoy reading or choose to read for pleasure


As an initial approximation, there are two broadly different groups of struggling readers for us to be concerned about

Students who are still struggling significantly with initial word reading skills (say, below the 3rd grade level)

Students who have “adequate” word level skills (though not fully fluent), but struggle with vocabulary, knowledge, reasoning, comprehension strategies, and motivation