Most of the FCAT will be replaced next year by exams that will rely less on multiple-choice questions and require students to write, show their work and display "higher-order thinking skills," the Florida Department of Education said Monday.The new, unnamed test will be aligned to new Common Core academic standards. Its exams are meant to be tougher than FCAT.They will rely less on multiple-choice questions — the backbone of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test — and more on "authentic" work, with students asked to create graphs and compare texts, the Education Department said.The tests also could take more time for students to complete.
Fifth-graders, for example, would spend 240 minutes on the new language-arts exams, compared with 140 minutes on FCAT reading, according to the state's test proposal.The new Florida tests are to replace the math, reading and writing sections of the FCAT. They also will include new end-of-course exams in algebra 1, geometry and algebra 2. FCAT science exams will remain in place. There will be both paper-and-pencil and computer-based versions of the new exams.The new tests, like FCAT, will be used to help make promotion and graduation decisions for students, grade public schools and evaluate teachers.