Florida chooses new test to replace FCAT next year

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TALLAHASSEE —

Florida is picking a new test to replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test that has been a mainstay in the state's schools for more than a decade.
 
Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart announced Monday that the state is approving a six-year contract with nonprofit American Institutes for Research to develop the test. The contract is worth an estimated $220 million.

"I feel very confident that it is the best choice for Florida students," said Stewart.

The new test will be administered in the spring of 2015.
 
The test will be based largely on Common Core State Standards, although Florida officials tweaked the standards somewhat earlier this year.

"The assessment is going to measure their progress and achievement on Florida standards," said Stewart.

But the decision to select American Institutes for Research means that the state will not be using the primary tests that other states that adopted Common Core plan to use.

The changes will replace math, reading and writing sections and will also include more than just multiple choice questions. 

Students will be asked to create graphs and write and respond in different ways from traditional tests.

"My No. 1 most important concern is making sure that our students have the best standards in front of them and the best instruction that is possible," said Stewart.

Later in the spring, students will have the opportunity to take practice exams to preview the new type of questions if they wish to do so.