Late decision forces Palm Beach County students to take math portion of FCAT

BOCA RATON, Fla. - In a last minute decision, the Palm Beach County School District is pushing more FCAT exams on more than 4,000 middle schoolers.

The state of Florida doesn't require middle schoolers enrolled in high school math to take the math portion of the FCAT, but the district has decided to do so less than two months before the April exam.

Less than two weeks ago, middle school principals received a memo from the school district telling them students in high school level math courses will now have to take the math portion of the FCAT.

Not having to take that portion of the exam excited middle schoolers like Alexandra Movassaghy at the beginning of the year.

Her mother, Bethany, figured it was a reward for her daughter because she took a higher level math course.

"I was very excited and in fact just last week I was reminding (Alexandra) since FCAT writing was today," she said. "I told her, 'You know you don't have FCAT math this year' and she said 'yayyy.' "

Alexandra's excitement has turned to fear.

The Loggers' Run Middle School algebra student just learned she has to take the math portion of the FCAT.

"She's like 'why, I've been doing algebra all year. I'm not refreshed on the math on the FCAT so if I have to take that I'm probably going to do worse than last year,' " Bethany said her daughter told her.

The state doesn't require students enrolled in algebra 1 or geometry to take the math portion of the FCAT so NewsChannel 5 asked the Palm Beach County School District why it made the late decision.

"Sometimes the people say we don't have to do it so let's not do what we don't have to do," Palm Beach County School spokesperson, Nat Harrington said. "But it was in the best interest of students when it was talked about by the principals."

Students like Alexandra now have to study for the state-mandated end of the course exam (EOC) for their algebra or geometry class as well as the math portion of the FCAT.

"We will use the better score of the two to give them opportunities for middle school and going on into high school," Harrington said.

Bethany doesn't agree.

"I don't see how FCAT math is going to further her in high school if she already is in algebra," she said. "They're going to lose  more algebra time to prepare for the EOC because they're taking the FCAT math now."

Bethany wishes her daughter had the option to take the test considering it's not required by the state, but the Palm Beach County School District said they don't.

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