As a part of the Florida Department of Education’s Next Generation Strategic Plan, the End of Course (EOC exams) are being created to phase out the FCAT. As many students already know, last year was the first year that these were being pushed out, starting with the Algebra 1 and Biology exam. If this goes smoothly, the FCAT (except for the science FCAT) will be gone by 2015, being completely replaced by the EOC exams.
The whole project is funded by the Race to the Top (RTT) Assessment Grant. This grant awarded Florida with $700 Million for the purpose of embarking on ambitious reforms to improve struggling schools.
“It will help pay for performance, rewarding the teachers and the administrators who go to schools that are struggling and they really show improvement,” said school superintendent Julie Janssen. “In this time of declining revenue, it’s been very hard to find pockets of money that we can say this is what this is earmarked for.”
Although Hillsborough County is not going to reap the benefits directly due to the fact that it already received the Bill and Melinda Gates Grant, it still is a part of the statewide decision to move toward computer based EOC exams.
Computer Based Testing is intended to be the “breath of fresh air” to the antiquated design of classical standardized testing. Its main goals are to eliminate the massive waste of paper for the tests, cut down on costs for hiring graders for the tests, provide more security for private student information, and engage the students in a new testing environment.
In 2010, 93 percent of teens ages 12-17 said they use the internet regularly, with 62 percent going online to access information on news and politics, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
The transition to Computer Based Testing isn’t the only thing that is going to change in the coming years. The EOC exams are radically different from their previously paper parents. Their main focus is to test on the individual course instead of the broad topic. This relieves stress on the teachers because they don’t have to waste time on teaching the extra FCAT material, and focus on their course. Also, these EOC exams could take the place of semester exams as well, thus freeing up even more time for the teachers to dedicate time to more important matters.
So far, students and teachers have responded well to the new testing method. Now the question is what are your opinions on the matter?