FCAT writing portion happens today

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- More than half a million students across the state of Florida will take the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test Tuesday. The test will be administered to 4th, 8th and 10th graders across the state.

This year, students have fifteen extra minutes to take the exam. Last year they only had forty-five minutes to complete the writing portion.

State education leaders say they're hoping to see better scores this year compared to those seen last year.

In 2012, state officials say they put in place tougher scoring guidelines without giving schools adequate notice or time to prepare. They say this caused students to score dramatically worse on the test compared to scores seen in 2011.

This year, students still need to work within the tougher guidelines. Those grading the tests will keep a close eye on spelling and grammar.

The writing test is scored from one to six, with four being the ideal score.

Schools get graded as well. They receive an "A" through "F" grade based on how many students get a 3.5 or higher .

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