FCAT is outdated and useless

There is yet another indication that the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is not an effective grading system. The St. Petersburg Times reported Tuesday that students with outstanding GPAs may not be promoted because of bad scores earned on the FCAT. If the state of Florida needed another reason to get rid of this outdated test, this is it.

The FCAT has been around since 1976 and is taken every spring by students in grades 3-10. While other states, such as New York and California, have similar standardized tests called the Regents, these tests fall in line with state curricula.

For Florida third graders, the FCAT is a particularly important test since their reading level must be up to speed in order for them to be promoted at the end of the year.

If students earn As and Bs on their report cards, how can they be in danger of repeating a grade? And if they are receiving passing grades why do the test scores not represent this?

The FCAT has long been considered out of line with statewide curricula and not a fair assessment of what children are learning in school.

This latest article also stated that close to 50,000 third-graders were made to repeat third grade due to poor grades on the FCAT. Parents and students deserve a better explanation for setting back their entire academic careers than a bad score on the FCAT.

While education in Florida has not been a priority in recent years, 50,000 students being retained should be a wake-up call to legislators and the governor in Tallahassee.

The FCAT should be thrown out and redesigned so it can better measure what students in Florida are really learning and what they really need to know.