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PRESS RELEASE

November 20, 2006

Kristy Campbell
(850) 488-5394
Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Governor Bush Announces Release of Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests
New, interactive version provides instant feedback

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Jeb Bush and Florida Department of Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the release of eight Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests (FCAT). The reading and mathematics tests are actual tests taken by students in 2006 and are no longer in use. The reading and mathematics tests for grades 3, 7, 9, and 10 are available in two formats – one which can be downloaded, and a new, interactive version that allows you to take the test and get results online. The Department of Education began releasing full-length FCAT tests last year, starting with grades 4, 8 and 10 reading and mathematics tests.

"The release of the Grade 3, 7, 9, and 10 tests enhances the educational resources for students and parents to better understand the FCAT,” said Governor Bush. “I am thankful to all of the Florida educators who help to develop and review appropriate test questions. As a result of their commitment, the State continues to take steps toward increasing the transparency of the FCAT.”

Today’s release includes test answer keys, a fact sheet explaining uses for the test and frequently asked questions. Released tests are identical to the tests taken by students except for questions that will be used on future tests. Parents and teachers can use the released tests as additional resources to increase students’ comfort level and familiarity with the FCAT.

The online version of the test allows users to toggle between the test book and a page that displays the correct answer to each question. In addition, the answer page provides the Sunshine State Standard tested by the question and the percent of students who chose each answer.

“We are fulfilling our commitment to increase the transparency and accountability of our testing program,” said Commissioner Winn. “This new interactive version will give the public a way to review the test questions and answers in an engaging and informative manner.”

Test questions are written according to specific guidelines developed by Florida educators. Questions are reviewed and revised by teachers, curriculum experts and school and district administrators to ensure they are appropriate for the grade level tested. Each year, more than 500 classroom teachers, special education teachers, English language learning instructors, administrators, curriculum specialists, policy leaders, college and university experts, school board members and parents take part in the FCAT question review process.

“While these tests can serve as excellent resources to teachers, parents and students, it is important to remember that these tests should never be used to drill students in preparation for next year’s FCAT because these specific questions will not be used again,” added Commissioner Winn.

Funding permitting, the Department of Education will again release more reading and mathematics tests next fall, along with the grade 8 science test.

The 2005 and 2006 released FCAT tests, as well as the supporting documents, can be found at http://fcat.fldoe.org/fcatrelease.asp