Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
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A. Released Tests1. What tests were released in 2007?
2. Were answers to the tests also released?
3. Were earlier tests released?
4. How were the tests released?
5. Are the released tests the actual tests that were administered to students?
6. Why were students’ tests and answer sheets not released?
7. What are field-test questions and anchor questions?
8. Where do students record their answers?
B. Taking the Test1. How much time are students given to take the test?
2. What tools/resources can students use during the test?
3. What are FCAT Achievement Levels 1 through 5? What is an acceptable performance level?
4. What score is needed to pass the test?
5. How can students who are visually-impaired take these tests?
6. What allowances are made for students with disabilities who take the FCAT?
7. What allowances are made for English Language Learners (ELLs)?
C. Using the Released Tests1. How should the released tests be used?
2. Are there improper uses of the released tests?
D. Test Questions1. How are test questions selected for the FCAT?
2. What kinds of answers must students provide on the FCAT?
3. Are all of the questions on the test on grade level?
4. Are all FCAT questions the same level of difficulty?
5. Why might FCAT questions seem hard to adults?
E. Scoring the Released Tests1. Are the correct answers for the test questions provided?
2. Are there different kinds of questions on the test?
3. What other information is provided about the test questions?
4. How are the FCAT written response questions scored?
5. How is the total score on the FCAT determined?
6. What score is needed to pass the Grade 10 FCAT?
7. Why is the FCAT scored using item response methods and pattern scoring?
The FCAT is scored using item response methods and pattern scoring because research has shown that this method produces the most accurate scores, making it possible to determine and report the score that is as close as possible to the student’s “true” skill level. In fact, numerous other public tests use these same methods, including the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT®), used for college entrance.
Students with low scores will generally succeed on the easy questions, students with moderate scores will typically succeed on questions with low to moderate difficulty, and students with high scores will succeed on questions at all levels of difficulty.
A student’s total score is determined based on the number of and difficulty levels of questions the student answers correctly. Harder questions are worth more than easier questions. The more difficult questions a student answers correctly, the fewer correct answers are potentially needed to “pass.” The more easy questions a student answers correctly, the greater number of correct answers are needed to “pass.”
Sometimes students with the same number of questions answered correctly may have similar scores, but they will not necessarily be identical unless the pattern of answers is identical. For instance, two students may have both answered a total of 35 questions correctly. However, if Student A answered more difficult questions correctly than Student B, then Student A’s score could potentially be higher than Student B’s score. On a 50-question test, there are several million possible patterns of answers. Since fewer than 200,000 students are tested at each grade level, it is extremely rare for two students to have an identical answer pattern.
8. What information do parents receive about student scores?
F. Release of Tests1. Why did the Department of Education release tests again in 2007?
2. Why aren’t all tests at all grade levels released every year?
3. How much does it cost to release tests?
4. What are the Department of Education’s plans for releasing tests?
G. Information About the FCAT1. What other information is available about the FCAT?
2. What information is provided to parents about the FCAT each year?
H. FCAT Released Tests Links1. How to Use the Released Tests
2. Return to FCAT Released Tests Home Page