BY MICHAEL GREGO, Superintendent, Pinellas County Schools
PINELLAS COUNTY — As parents, we want our children to have the opportunity to receive a great education to prepare them for life’s journey after graduation. One way we gauge and measure our students’ educational success is through assessing their learning.
This March the Florida Department of Education will implement a new test to replace the FCAT. This new assessment is tied to the state’s new mathematics, reading and writing standards called the Florida Standards, formerly known as Common Core.
The new standards provide detailed expectations of what every child should be able do at each grade level. These standards were developed with input from Florida teachers, educators and the public.
The emphasis with these new standards is for your children to think critically and analytically. You can expect the assessment to include different types of questions beyond multiple choice or simple fill-in-the blank questions. For example, the new types of test questions will require that a student respond by creating a graph or by using information from two or more literary texts, audio or multimedia presentation.
The thought of a new test can make some students and parents anxious and uncertain. For this reason, our district and the Florida Department of Education have taken several steps to ensure students are prepared to take the new assessment by offering:
- Parent nights with information on the Florida Standards Assessment. If you were not able to attend the informational parent night at your child’s school, please contact the school principal if you have any questions.
- Parent guides to assist families of students K-12 with tips on the assessment subjects of English and math. Visit www.pcsb.org/standards to access guides.
- Training tests to familiarize parents and students with the assessment system and how it works. The tests combine sample items for different grade levels and subject areas. Visit www.fsassessments.org/training-tests to access sample tests by grade level.