What Teachers Need to Know

Q: Why is Florida changing standards?

Florida’s old standards (Sunshine State Standards) were described as “an inch deep and a mile wide.” In other words, teachers used to have to cover many skills, but did not have the time to explain any of them very deeply.

Both the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and the Common Core State Standards have been described as being “fewer, higher, and clearer” than our old standards.

Now, Florida teachers will have fewer specific standards to cover in a given year, but they will be expected to cover them more intensely so students will have a deeper understanding of the critical material.

Q: Does the FCAT measure Next Generation Sunshine State Standards and Common Core State Standards?

The FCAT (now called FCAT 2.0) has been changed to measure how our students have progressed on the newer standards – the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.

In 2015, Florida will use different tests to measure how our students have progressed on the Common Core State Standards.

Florida is part of a consortium of states called the Partnership for Assessments of Readiness in College and Careers (PARCC). This consortium of states is developing common tests to measure the common set of standards.

These PARCC tests will replace the FCAT in reading and math in 2015.

Q: How do the drops in their student’s test scores affect teacher performance evaluation?

Beginning in 2013-2014, fifty percent of a teacher’s evaluation will be based upon data. This measurement will be based upon a complete look at the “progress” of all the students the teacher taught over a 3-year period of time.

For teachers who teach in FCAT tested subjects and grades, the state and your school district will be able to compare gains from the old and the new FCAT. In other words, teachers will still be able to get credit for making progress with a student even if the student’s overall achievement scores dropped during the transition to the old and the new FCAT 2.0.

The same progress measures will be able to be calculated when Florida transitions from FCAT 2.0 to PARCC assessments in 2015.

Q: What professional development is available to teachers so they are successful in teaching Next Generation Sunshine State Standards?

Research based subject area workshop trainings provided by the department and local school districts

Q: What resources are going to be available to teachers in failing schools?

Title I dollars and School Improvement Grant funding may be used by local school districts to support teacher professional development

Q: What resources are going to be available to teachers as they transition to teaching Common Core State Standards?

GE Foundation has provided $18 million to Student Achievement Partners an organization that will provide free professional development and resources to states to transition to the Common Core State Standards.

For more information please visit DOE’s special website just for teachers.