The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is a high stakes mandatory evaluation for students in elementary public schools in the state of Florida. It is famed for gains in student achievement and teacher accountability. On the flip side, it is dreaded for test anxiety in students, and a state administered bonus incentive to top performing schools among other flaws. It is unfair to subject non-English speakers to the FCAT.
As defined in section 1001.56 of the Florida Statutes; English Language Learners (ELLs) means Limited English Proficient. These are individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. (Florida Administrative Weekly). The researcher admits that they did not factor in ELLs in their survey questions. However he compensates for this with a recommendation as well as a good number of insightful comments from respondents. This could be a pointer that ELLs could be ignored by the Florida state education system. This could lead to protests and hate speech from minorities.
A respondent commented: It is ridiculous for second language learners to take the FCAT as soon as they enter the country! …Research indicates it takes as many as six years for students to be able to reason and express themselves in writing in a second language! FCAT standards have been found to be failing under the rules of the federal ‘No Child Left Behind’ legislation. This mandatory test exacerbates the school drop out problem in Florida.(FCAT Project)
In conclusion the FCAT system is not fair to ELLs. There are other tests like ACT, SAT in line with Sunshine State Standards (Florida Department of Education) that can be used. If this system is to be popular, then policy makers need to work on its flaws.
“Accommodations of the Statewide Assessment Program Instruments and Procedures for
English Language Learners.” Florida Administrative Weekly and Florida Administrative Code. May 5, 2009, May 7, 2010.