This page provides information about the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and participation for students with disabilities, accommodations for students with disabilities, and links to related publications and other resources.
The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) is the statewide assessment that measures students' progress on the Sunshine State Standards. The FCAT measures student achievement in grades 3-10 in reading and mathematics, grades 4, 8, and 10 in writing, and grades 5, 8, and 11 in science. The FCAT includes criterion-referenced tests. Students must earn a passing score on the Grade 10 FCAT Reading and Mathematics to graduate with a standard diploma.
For more information go to the Florida Department of Education FCAT Home Page at http://fcat.fldoe.org.
in Statewide Testing
Allowable FCAT accommodations for students with disabilities are generally described in five categories: presentation, responding, scheduling, setting, and use of assistive devices. Unique accommodations that involve changes to the test materials or booklets may be provided if approved by the Commissioner of Education. All accommodations must be documented in the student's IEP or a Section 504 plan.
Examples of FCAT Accommodations
A provision in the ENOBLES Act of 2003 gives the individual educational plan (IEP) team the authority to recommend a waiver of passage of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) as a requirement for graduation with a standard diploma in the traditional 24-credit graduation program.
In order for the FCAT graduation requirement to be waived, the IEP team must meet and compile the form titled Waiver of Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Graduation Requirement for Students with Disabilities during the student's senior year to document whether or not the FCAT can accurately measure the student's abilities, taking into consideration allowable accommodations.
If there is sufficient evidence that the student has mastered the applicable Sunshine State Standards and the IEP team determines that the FCAT is not an accurate measure of the student's ability, even with allowable accommodations, the FCAT requirement may be waived and the student may graduate with a standard diploma.
(From: "Waiver of Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test® Graduation Requirements for Students with Disabilities available from the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) FCAT Accommodations for Students with Disabilities page at http://www.fldoe.org/ese/)
You can download informative brochures and technical assistance papers on FCAT accommodations for students with disabilities from the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services (BEESS) FCAT Accommodations for Students with Disabilities page at http://www.fldoe.org/ese/fcatasd.asp.
Rule 6A-1.0943, FAC identifies testing accommodations for students with disabilities. Information about accommodations for students with disabilities is included in the test administration manual for the FCAT. In addition, there are federal laws that provide for Individual Educational Plans and 504 Plans that address individual students' need for accommodations. Go to The Legal Basis for Accommodations and Modifications page of this website.
According to the Office of Academic Achievement through Language Acquisition, all English Language Learners (ELLs) are expected to participate in statewide assessments. However, if an ELL has been receiving services in an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program operated in accordance with an approved district plan for one year or less and a majority of the student's committee determines that it is appropriate, the ELL may be exempt from the FCAT Writing or Reading administrations. Exempt ELL students must participate in the English proficiency assessment or they will be counted as "not assessed" and will impact the participation rate calculation for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
All ELLs are expected to participate in the FCAT Mathematics and Science tests no matter how long these students have been receiving services. Not participating in the FCAT Mathematics assessment will impact the participation rate calculation for AYP.
ELLs may take the FCAT using accommodations appropriate for the particular need of the student. It is the responsibility of local school educators to work with students and parents to identify the allowable testing accommodations.
For information about accommodations for other types of standardized tests, go to the Standardized Tests and Accommodations page of this website.
To read reports on accommodations used in testing for students with disabilities, access the testing page of the National Center on Educational Outcomes website at http://cehd.umn.edu/nceo/.