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Succeeding on the FCAT 2.0 Grade 10 Reading and Writing Tests
About This Book
This book, which includes access to free practice tests, gives you everything you need to succeed on Florida’s FCAT 2.0 Reading and FCAT Writing tests. The total package includes:
* Focused subject review
* Strategies and tips just for the FCAT
* Six full-length practice tests (two online at www.rea.com/FCAT and two in the book split between Reading and Writing)
* Every test answer keyed to the corresponding Florida standard
About the Test
Who Takes the FCAT 2.0 and What Is It Used For?
The FCAT is given to public school students throughout Florida to measure achievement in the skills and competencies outlined in the Sunshine State Standards. The FCAT consists of four sections: Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and Science. FCAT Reading 2.0 is given to students in Grades 3 through 10 and is aligned with the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
FCAT Writing is administered to students in Grades 4, 8, and 10 and is aligned with the Sunshine State Standards. Students must pass the reading portion of the tenth-grade FCAT 2.0 in order to receive a high school diploma.
When and Where Is the Test Given?
FCAT Reading 2.0 is administered to students in Florida public schools in April. Students who need to retake FCAT Reading 2.0 can do so in one of two sessions in October. FCAT Writing is administered to students at the end of February.
Is There a Registration Fee?
Because all Florida public high school students must take the FCAT 2.0 and pass the test in order to receive a high school diploma, no fee is required.
What Is the Format of FCAT Reading 2.0?
FCAT Reading 2.0 contains 70% informational text and 30% literary text. The passages are 300 to 1,500 words each, with the average being 1,000 words. The test consists of 50 to 56 multiple-choice questions. Students are given 140 minutes to complete the test.
Changes to FCAT Reading 2.0
FCAT Reading 2.0 features only multiple-choice items. It also has a more rigorous content than the previous test. Students will be asked more often to:
* Use reasonable prior knowledge, such as grade-appropriate vocabulary.
* Make reasonable inferences that are not explicitly text-based.
* Analyze information across a pair of texts, such as making comparisons of themes or main ideas.
What Is the Format of FCAT Writing?
FCAT Writing consists of one writing prompt, which is either expository or persuasive. Students will each receive a test booklet containing the prompt and a section for making notes. Students are given 45 minutes to plan, draft, and revise their essays based on the prompt.
Test Accommodations and Special Situations
Every effort is made to provide a level playing field for students with disabilities taking the FCAT 2.0 and seeking a standard high school diploma. Special accommodations are permitted for students who:
* have been assigned to a special program, according to State Board Rule 6A-6.0331, FAC, and
* have a current Individual Educational Plan (IEP).
Federal law requires the inclusion of exceptional education students in all regular assessment programs. The school, district, and state FCAT 2.0 score averages represent all students taking the test, including students with disabilities.
In addition, students with limited English proficiency (LEP) are expected to take the FCAT 2.0. LEP students may be exempt from participating in the statewide assessment program:
* if the student has been receiving services in an approved district LEP plan for one year or less, and
* if the student’s LEP committee determines that the FCAT is not appropriate.
LEP students 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.
Additional Information and Support
Additional resources to help you prepare to take the FCAT include:
* the official FCAT website at http://fcat.fldoe.org
* the Florida Department of Education website at http://www.fldoe.org/
How to Use This Book
What Do I Study First?
Read over the review sections and the suggestions for test-taking. Studying the review sections thoroughly will reinforce the basic skills you need to do well on the test. Be sure to take the practice tests in this book and online to become familiar with the format and procedures involved with taking the actual FCAT 2.0. Check your answers to see which skills you need to review.
What to Do Before the Test
* Pay attention in class and do your homework. Beginning with the first assignment of the year, organize each school day so there is always time to study and keep up with homework. Knowing that you have completed all the activities in this book will give you extra confidence to do well on the test.
* Carefully work through the review sections of this book. Mark any topics that you find difficult so that you can focus on them while studying and get extra help if necessary.
* Take the practice tests and become familiar with the format of the FCAT 2.0. When you are practicing, simulate the conditions under which you will be taking the actual test. Stay calm and pace yourself. After simulating the test only a couple of times, you will feel more confident, and this will boost your chances of doing well.
* Students who have difficulty concentrating or taking tests in general may have severe test anxiety. Tell your parents, a teacher, a counselor, the school nurse, or a school psychologist well in advance of the test. They may be able to suggest some useful strategies to help you feel more relaxed so that you can do your best on the test.
* Get plenty of rest. Getting a good night’s sleep the night before the test is essential to being sharp and focused.
What to Do During the Test
* Read all of the possible answers. Just because you think you have found the correct response, do not automatically assume that it is the best answer. Read through each answer choice to be sure that you are not making a mistake by jumping to conclusions.
* Use the process of elimination. Go through each answer to a question and eliminate as many of the answer choices as possible. By eliminating two answer choices, you will give yourself a far better chance of getting the item correct since there will only be two choices left to choose from.
* Work quickly and steadily and avoid focusing on any one question for too long. Taking the practice tests in this book and online will help you learn to budget your time on the actual test.
* Work on the easiest questions first. If you find yourself working too long on one question, make a mark next to it on your test booklet and continue. After you have answered all of the questions that you know, go back to the ones that you skipped.
* Be sure that the answer oval you are marking corresponds to the item number in the test booklet. Since the multiple-choice sections are graded by machine, marking just one wrong answer choice for a question can throw off your answer key and thus your score.
* Work from the answer choices. You can use a multiple-choice format to your advantage by working backwards from the answer choices to answer the question. You may be able to make an educated guess based on eliminating choices that you know do not fit the question.