Crist ready to tweak FCAT uses, administration


Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 12:56 a.m.
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist will roll out a proposal next week to make changes to how the state uses and administers the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, but he gave few details when he revealed his plans Wednesday.
Crist was asked at a Tiger Bay Club luncheon why schools are graded only on FCAT results when they do much more than teach the subjects on the standardized tests.
''It may not surprise you that I've heard that message before,'' Crist said to a smattering of laughter. ''I think what you'll see is across the board, but also in a very special, particular way as it relates to teacher salary increases, more items will be taken into account than just the test.''
After the lunch he was asked to elaborate.
''It's one of the pieces I'm going to roll out next week, so I won't say a whole lot, but other factors are important to include,'' Crist said.
The FCAT was the centerpiece of former Gov. Jeb Bush's education overhaul. The test existed pre-Bush, but he used it to give schools letter grades that determined which were punished and which were rewarded. Students in schools that repeatedly failed were eligible for private school vouchers until the program was struck down by the Florida Supreme Court.
The test is also used to determine whether third-graders can advance to fourth grade and whether high school seniors can graduate.
School grades have been based on reading, writing and math. This year science tests will also be included in the grading formula.
''I've said all along, I think that taking a measure and having accountability is incredibly important, and I believe with every fiber of my body that we have to stay on that path. I've also said that there may be ways to tweak it and amend it that can make it even more reasonable,'' Crist said.
The test has been widely criticized by parents and teachers, and Crist said that it's important to listen to their concerns.

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