Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

EDUCATION; Duval Schools Ready for FCAT Parents Are Advised to Encourage Their Children, Rather Than Pressure Them

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

EDUCATION; Duval Schools Ready for FCAT Parents Are Advised to Encourage Their Children, Rather Than Pressure Them

Article excerpt

Byline: TOPHER SANDERS

Today marks the beginning of a week and a half of taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test for public school students. Most grades will begin their reading testing today, although fifth- graders will begin with math.

The testing is scheduled to end March 19.

Kathryn LeRoy, chief academic officer for Duval County Public Schools, shared some helpful hints for parents and students as tests get under way. She spoke about how teachers' preparation is going to help Duval schools improve FCAT performance.

WHAT SHOULD BE THE FOCUS OF PARENTS AND STUDENTS AS FCAT BEGINS?

Our parents and our students should have confidence in the ability of our kids to do well on this assessment. It's one snapshot of what they've been doing. They need to be calm; they need to get a good night's sleep. They need to obviously get a good breakfast. Our teachers have prepared our kids to do well.

DO STUDENTS NEED TO DO ANY LAST-MINUTE STUDYING?

No, they don't need to do any last-minute studying. I think that they're ready to go. Our teachers have worked a lot on short- and extended-response questioning with them this year. Parents may remind their children that "you've been working in class on short- and extended-response and to make sure that when those questions come up on the test over the next week and a half that you at least attempt to respond to those questions."

WHAT ARE SHORT AND EXTENDED RESPONSES?

The two-pointers and three-pointers where children have to write about what their understanding is in reading, math and science. It's really important that children try and respond. Our data has shown in past years that not many of our children are even attempting to respond to those questions. Probably the problem has been that the test is long and some of our children probably get fatigued from answering the questions. …

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