Take the science FCAT

Have you taken the science FCAT yet? You can take the eighth grade exam posted by the Fl Dept. of Education to get a feel for what it’s like. I took the 45-question test and only stumbled over one answer because I had forgotten some things concerning potential and kinetic energy. Hey, it’s been two decades since the eighth grade for me; cut me some slack.

There were only two questions that required doing math. There were four questions requiring writing. The rest were multiple choice. It seemed to me that many questions practically had the answer in the question itself, but I freely admit that I’m not a teacher or an eighth grader. There was a lot of reasoning required, though, and I like how several questions addressed the very nature of science itself.

In the answer key, the percentage of students who selected the various multiple-choice answers is given. Question 5 surprised me, as it seems students didn’t know the difference between a galaxy and a constellation. A lever in question 7 really stumped students, which is disappointing. Somehow, students knew more about muscle cells (question 8 ), which I had to actually stop and think about, than they did simple machines.

Question 27 required a written answer and was about how an experiment should be done. Unfortunately, a full 50 percent of the students completely missed it. Also of note were the two questions requiring calculating, questions 33 and 34. Students bombed them with only 34 and 23 percent, respectively, getting them right.

I wonder why so many students thought that gene replication happens in the cell membrane (question 41).

Take the test and let us know how you did. Is this test a good way to assess eighth graders’ science knowledge or not?

About Brandon Haught

Communications Director for Florida Citizens for Science.
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4 Responses to Take the science FCAT

  1. Progressive America says:

    Interesting test. I’m a microbiology major at UM. I found most of the questions appropriate for an 8th grade class. It looks like they really did focus on scientific reasoning and the scientific method a bit. Some of the questions were really easy though like that one about the erosion on the beaches and the simples machines. The gravity question with the string and ball had me thinking. As far as students missing the question about the cell membrane, I agree about how could anyone put that. Even if you weren’t sure, why would someone put cell membrane?! Overall, I could see how this test would be a challenge for some 8th grade students though, even many high school students unfortunately.

  2. K says:

    Not good enough. My 11-year-old just took it and missed 10. I expect an 11-year-old to not be able to grasp 8th grade work at all. Too many of the questions are far too easy and shouldn’t be on any test.

    And this is EXACTLY why I homeschool. Florida schools are not acceptable.

  3. Blake Stacey says:

    I won’t hazard to guess what would be appropriate for eighth-graders, but these questions look comparable in difficulty to the Alabama High School Graduation Exam‘s science section.

  4. Pingback: Florida Citizens for Science » Blog Archive » 2008 science FCAT scores

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