ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- FCATs are under fire in St. Johns County. The state's number one school district wants to strip the standardized test of some of its power. It passed a resolution Tuesday calling for an end to high stakes testing.
Action News asked School Board Chairwoman Beverly Slough, "We're not talking about doing away with the FCAT all together, just not giving it as much importance, right?" She replied, "That's correct. We very much embrace accountability. Obviously, we've been number one in the state for four years based on all of that accountability. So we don't want to throw it away. However, we just feel like it's becoming more and more and more the central focus, as opposed to student learning."
The School Board feels the test does not accurately evaluate a student's progress. Instead, it would like to see other factors included.
"Maybe how they perform day to day. How they work in groups," said Slough.
School Board member Tommy Allen said, "A single test shouldn't determine a student's future."
The FCAT is considered to be a "high-stakes test" because there's a lot riding on it. It determines whether a student passes the grade, or even graduates. It's the source of a lot of stress.
Slough said, "Teachers tell me all the time, and parents do, about children who throw up before they come to school before they take their FCAT."
The FCATs are used to evaluate teachers and rank school districts. But even the top-ranked district in Florida feels the FCAT is a test with too much weight, and not enough worth. "We just need to keep things in balance," said Slough.
The resolution passed unanimously. Now, it heads to state legislators, the Department of Education, and to Gov. Rick Scott.
More than a dozen school districts around the state have passed similar resolutions, including Duval County.