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Comparing the FCAT and the SAT

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: Please advise me the differences & comparisons between the FCAT & SAT. In your opinion, which is a more academic accurate testing of a child’s immediate grade level & capabilities?

A: Since the SAT is rather common and a lot of information can be obtained by surfing the web, I would concentrate on the FCAT. Having said that, I am not very familiar with the FCAT, so the information provided here would be based on my readings and understanding. The FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) is a new student achievement test that is being developed by the Department of Education in Florida. This test will be administered to students in all public schools as part of the state's educational accountability program.

There are a few differences compared to other achievement tests as follows:

  • The FCAT is the only test administered in Florida schools that is specifically designed to measure the Sunshine State Standards.

  • Designed to represent the kinds of tasks and activities that parents and teachers expect as part of good instruction. This is accomplished in FCAT mathematics and reading tests by the type of information that students encounter on the test and the kinds of questions that students answer.

  • Requires students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the information presented, and to apply strategies or procedures they have learned. The level of thinking required of students goes beyond the recall of facts and basic comprehension typical of many standardized test questions. To emphasize the thinking required, the performance tasks on the reading test are labeled "Read, Think, and Explain".

One research indicated that the average correlation between scores from the FCAT and SAT-9 was very high (close to a perfect correlation). At the same time, it was also found that a passing score on the FCAT reading test equates to a 370 on the SAT. A passing score on the FCAT math test equates to a 350. These scores can be used as a rough guide to gauge the difference.

For more information on FCAT, you may want to visit the link here.


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