Science Teachers Using Hands-On Instruction; for FCAT, It May Be an Edge
Garza, Cynthia L., The Florida Times Union
Byline: Cynthia L. Garza, Times-Union staff writer
The old-school way of teaching science, often marked by dry texts and multisyllabic words and processes, is starting to find itself replaced by a more hands-on approach that stresses everyday applications.
The new approach will be crucial, some teachers say, if students are to meet expectations that could come soon as part of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
Starting in March, Florida students in grades five, eight and 10 will take tests to determine their knowledge of science. The tests are part of FCAT, which since its start in 1998 has focused mainly on reading, math and writing.
That has some Duval County teachers worried, because it has meant science has not been emphasized.
"I think the emphasis on reading and math is going to show that across the county there's a large gap in the sciences," said Diane Landschoot, a fifth-grade science teacher at John Stockton Elementary School. Her school was among those that took a pilot FCAT science exam last year, but the state did not say how the students performed on the field test.
"We had no idea what was going to be on the exam," said Landschoot, a 24-year teaching veteran who has worked at Stockton Elementary for 15 years. "We knew the topics, but not how they were going to be tested."
Scores from the March round of testing will be reported on the same 100 to 500 scale used for reading and math but will not carry as heavy a weight. Scores on the established tests help determine grades for public schools, how reward money will be divided among school districts and whether some students are promoted.
Cornelia Orr, administrator for assessment and school performance at the Florida Department of Education, said it …
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Publication information: Article title: Science Teachers Using Hands-On Instruction; for FCAT, It May Be an Edge. Contributors: Garza, Cynthia L. - Author. Newspaper title: The Florida Times Union. Publication date: January 16, 2003. Page number: Not available. © 2007 The Florida Times-Union. COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group.
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