FCAT Scoring

The results of different examinations have varied applications and interpretations. While the results of some tests are given in terms of scaled scores and percentiles there are others whose results are given as ‘qualified’ or ‘not qualified’. Whatever be the system of declaration of results, your performance in an exam is judged solely by your results.

If you fail to perform, your results shall show it and vice versa. Likewise, this test results also shed light on your abilities. They are direct measurements of your performance and competence.

How are FCAT Results used?

Your achievement in FCAT is measured against the benchmarks set by Sunshine State Standards of Florida. The following are some utilities of this exam’s results.

  • This makes it possible to measure performance as per Sunshine State Standards, which forms the basis of educational standards in Florida.
  • The examination assists in making policies, helps educators and students achieve higher goals in education.
  • Results of the Reading tests are considered for promotion from Grade 3 to Grade 4.
  • Florida graduation requirements include passing Grade 10 FCAT Reading and Mathematics tests.
  • The results are used as data for calculation for grades assigned by DOE.

The scores are not the only measure used by Florida’s public education system. Florida’s public education system uses classroom tests, classroom grade, teacher’s reports, school’s individual criteria and other district standards for assessment of educational standards. Nonetheless, this examination holds its own place as an assessment criterion. Besides, district and school administrations have their own standards of scores that students should achieve and their own promotion criteria based on the test.

Score Reporting

The following are the scores reported in this exam:

FCAT Score: This score is called developmental scale score and ranges from 0 to 3000 for Reading and Mathematics tests. It is based on previous performances of a student and indicates the progress made by a student over years. The developmental scale score is not reported for Science test since it is administered in limited grades. A scale score that ranges from 100 to 500 is reported for Science, Mathematics and Reading tests. For the Writing test, the score is reported on a scale of 0 to 6, where 0 is for an ‘unscorable’ essay.

Achievement Level: This score ranges from level 1 to level 5. Each level corresponds to a range of scores in which a child’s score falls. The developmental scale scores and scale scores are used for finding the Achievement Level of a student.  Each level of achievement has a specific definition according to Sunshine State Standards. This score is reported for all but the Writing test. Achievement Levels 3, 4 or 5 show that the Sunshine State Standards are met. Levels 1 and 2 are below the level of expectations.

Content Scores: These scores are reported for each content cluster or subcategory. The score is the total points scored out of the maximum points possible.

Scores of Previous Years: The scores for previous performances in FCAT are reported for Reading and Mathematics tests.

Performance Task Scores: These scores are reported for the Reading, Mathematics and Science tests. The scores are the points gained in a task.

The results of FCAT are sent to

  • Students and their parents
  • School administrators
  • District administrators
  • State-level administrators and policy makers

Method of Scoring

    • The multiple-choice and gridded response items are scored electronically. The performance tasks are scored by hand. Hand scoring specifications are defined for scoring these performance tasks. Professionals are employed for scoring the papers by hand. These are test contractor employees, retired teachers, part-time graduate students, educators that are not employed by any Florida public school etc.
  • The Reading, Mathematics, Science short-response performance tasks are scored as 0, 1 or 2 and extended-response performance tasks are scored from 0 to 4. The Writing test is scored from 0 to 6. 0 stands for unscorable responses. Two scorers score the performance tasks. If their scores for short-response tasks are not the same then a third scorer is called for checking. If the extended-response task’s scores differ by more than one point, a third scorer is called in.

FCAT Results as Promotion and Graduation Requirements

FCAT results are provided to students and their parents as it helps in their understanding whether the standards of promotion and graduation have been met. Statewide promotion and graduation requirements are set whereas schools and district administrations can specify their own standards.

As stated above, Grade 3 Reading test results are considered for promotion to Grade 4. Those who score in Level 1 in Grade 3 Reading test are detained in their class.
For high school graduation, it is mandatory for students to pass the Grade 10 Reading and Mathematics tests. You have to score 1889 in the Mathematics Test. This corresponds to a scale score of 300. Similarly, Reading Test score has to be a minimum of 1926. This corresponds to scale score of 300. In case you fail to meet these standards, you can retake the exams in fall, spring and summer in 11th and 12th grades. Hence, the maximum number of attempts can be six for each test. However, Reading and Mathematics scores are not the only criterion for graduation. In case you meet all the other requirements but fail the FCAT Reading and Mathematics tests, you shall receive a Certificate of Completion. This is not equivalent to a standard high school diploma. However, you can take the Florida College Entry-level Placement Test (CPT) to enroll in a public community college. This test assesses if you are qualified for college-credit courses or some remedial courses are required.

You can achieve concordant scores in ACT or SAT and use them in place of FCAT scores in case you fail this exam three times. A score of 410 in SAT Reading and 370 in SAT Mathematics is equivalent to the passing scores in FCAT Reading and Mathematics respectively. A score of 15 in ACT Reading and Mathematics is equal to the passing scores in FCAT Reading and Mathematics respectively. Using concordant scores is an option but one should avoid such a situation. Retaking a test twice and failing as many times puts your case in doubt. It shows lack of seriousness towards education. Moreover, since students are made to appear for FCAT since Grade 3 they are expected to be familiar with its pattern and requirements. Thus, there is little reason for not achieving passing scores in Grade 10. Hence, it shall be in your best interest to take the Grade 10 Reading and Mathematics tests seriously the first time around and giving them your best shot.

Points to Ponder

Based on the understanding of the scoring of this test, the following points should be kept in mind:

    • Scoring high in the test is important but it is not the only criteria used by education authorities for promotion. These criteria differ from school to school and district to district. Hence, you must gain complete information about the requirements in your area for promotion in each grade.
    • The score report is elaborate. The developmental scale score and achievement levels shed light on your abilities and how you have improved. There is little you can do to prove your capabilities if these scores are low. Hence, you must strive to improve your abilities and performance over years.
  • Analyze your content scores to understand where you lack and try to improve in those areas. Content scores are excellent tools to help you realize where you lack.

Preparing for each test according to the grade requirements is the only way you can score high in the examination. Take the help of your parents, teachers, friends, classmates, tutors etc. to get advice and suggestions. Make genuine efforts to improve your abilities for tackling the test. You cannot hope to score high in it without preparing well for the same because there is no substitute for practice and hard work.