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SUCCEEDING ON THE FCAT -- READING AND WRITING
ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book provides excellent preparation for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) for Reading and Writing+, Grade 8. Inside you will find lessons, drills, strategies, and test practiceall of it with a single-minded focus: success on the FCAT.
The book is divided into several parts. The first section is a PRETEST, which is half the length of the actual FCAT test and introduces students to some of the key components on the actual test:
Informational passages, including articles, biographies, and letters
Literary passages, such as poems, short stories, and excerpts from plays and novels
Three types of questions: multiple-choice, short response, and extended response
Following the pretest are two lesson sections:
Part 1 teaches students about the different types of questions and skills on the reading portion of the test.
Part 2 instructs students on the writing, revising, and viewing portions of the test.
A full-length POSTTEST, which follows the lessons, includes detailed explanations of all answers.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
FOR STUDENTS: To make getting through the book as easy as possible, weve included icons shown on the next page that highlight sections like lessons, questions, and answers. Youll find that our practice tests are very much like the actual FCAT youll encounter on test day. The best way to prepare for a test is to practice, so weve included drills with answers throughout the book, and our two practice tests include detailed answers.
FOR PARENTS: Florida has created grade-appropriate benchmarks that are listed in the table in this introduction. Students need to meet these benchmarks as measured by the FCAT. Our book will help your child review for the FCAT and prepare for the Reading and Writing+ exams. It includes review sections, drills, and two practice tests complete with explanations to help your child focus on the areas he/she needs to work on to help master the test.
FOR TEACHERS: No doubt, you are already familiar with the FCAT and its format. Begin by assigning students the pretest. An answer key and detailed explanations follow the pretest. Then work through each of the lessons in succession. When students have completed the subject review, they should move on to the posttest. Answers and answer explanations follow the posttest.
WHY STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE FCAT
In 1996 Florida’s State Board of Education adopted the Sunshine State Standards that define Floridas expectations for student learning. To determine how well a student is advancing and whether the student is on course to perform well in high school, eighth grade students are required to take the FCAT.
It is one of the key tools used to identify students who need additional instruction to master the knowledge and skills detailed in the Sunshine State Standards, the standards that guide education in Florida.
WHAT’S ON THE FCAT
The reading portion of the FCAT contains both literary passages and informational passages. Literary passages are most often short stories, but they may also be poems and excerpts from novels and plays. Informational passages are most often articles and biographies, but they might also be letters. Some informational passages will contain graphics such as maps and charts.
The eighth-grade FCAT contains three types of questions: multiple-choice, short-response, and extended-response questions. It should take you about 5 minutes to answer each short-response question and about 10 to 15 minutes to answer each extended-response question. Most of the questions on the FCAT are multiple-choice.
Each question on the FCAT tests a specific benchmark. The following benchmarks are tested on the Grade 8 FCAT:
LA.A.2.3.1 Main Idea: Determine the main idea or essential message in a text and identify relevant facts and patterns or organization.
LA.A.1.3.2 Vocabulary: Use a variety of strategies to analyze words and text, draw conclusions, use context and word
structure clues, and recognize organizational patterns.
LA.A.2.2.7 Comparison and Contrast: Recognize the use of comparison and contrast in a text.
LA.A.2.3.2 Authors Purpose: Identify the authors purpose and/or point of view in a variety of texts and use the
information to construct meaning.
LA.A.2.3.5 Locate, Organize, and Interpret Written Information: Locate, organize, and interpret written information for a variety of purposes, including classroom research, collaborative decision making, and performing a school or real-world task.
LA.A.2.3.8 Check the Validity of Research: Check the validity and accuracy of information obtained from research, in such ways as differentiating fact and opinion, identifying strong vs. weak arguments, recognizing that personal values influence the conclusions an author draws.
LA.E.2.2.1 Cause and Effect: Recognize cause-and-effect relationships in literary and information texts.
LA.E.2.3.1 Literature: Understand how character and plot development, point of view, and tone are used in various selections to support a central conflict or a story line.
*The benchmarks presented in this book were created and implemented by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). For further information, visit the FLDOE website at http://firn.edu/doe/sas/fcat.htm.
LA.B.1.3.1 Organizing: Organize information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.
LA.B.1.3.2 Drafting and Revising: Draft and revise writing that is focused, purposeful, and reflects insight into the writing situation.
LA.B.1.3.3 Editing: Produce final documents that have been edited for correct spelling, punctuation, usage, formatting, and with a variety of sentence structure, including parallel structure.
LA.B.2.3.3 Determining Format: Select and use appropriate formats for writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository formats, according to the intended audience, purpose, and occasion.