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If Your Child Failed The 3rd Grade FCAT, You Have Options

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Author: Mark Halpert

As we write this article, the results for the 2009 3rd grade FCAT are not out - but we have already been asked several questions by concerned parents, including:

1- If my child failed the 3rd grade FCAT, will they be retained?

2- If my child failed the 3rd grade FCAT, what private school should I send them to, to avoid 3rd grade retention?

3- If my child failed the 3rd grade FCAT is there another way for them to be promoted?

The FCAT is Florida's high stakes test - it is also called the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Many smart kids fail the FCAT because:

- They set the standards much higher in 3rd grade

- The test is very tricky - and many adult get the questions wrong

- The pressure is intense

We like to answer the questions from a personal perspective. If our child had just failed the 3rd grade FCAT:

1- Would they be retained?

2- Would I send them to private school and which one?

3- Are there other options?

There are other options. In Broward County, the options include:

1- The teacher having a portfolio that shows your child has mastered the material.

2- Passing 8 mini-benchmarks that show your child has mastered the material.

3- Passing a new standardized test - the BCAP - that Broward County has developed that will be given on July 21st .

The simple answer to the retention question is - Yes, if you do nothing, your child will be retained.

For the first time ever - this test can be taken whether your child attended summer school or did not - private help is an option.

There are private options - and this may be your best option.

The private school options do exist. Specialized schools like Lighthouse Pointe Academy (LPA at North Broward Preparatory School), American Heritage Academy that is associated with American Heritage Schools, and Kentwood Preparatory Schools are 3 options and other private schools are also options.

We are big believers in public schools - -and recommend you consider what you can do to help your child be promoted to 4th grade.

The three steps you can take are to:

1- Talk with your child's teacher and find out where your child stands.

2- Find out about summer school and your other options - each county has some flexibility.

3- Consider private options.

When considering FCAT Help, FCAT Tutoring or FCAT Programs, you may want to consider:

1- Do they teach the way your child learns best? - too often programs are logical and sequential - when the child is a right-brained learner - who learns best when they see and experience information

2- Are they focused on passing the test, improving your child's foundational skills, or both?

3- Do they have a track record of helping kids do extremely well on the test, in school, in life, or in all three areas?

About the author: Mira Halpert M.Ed. and Mark Halpert are parent-educators who offer private options for parents with smart struggling children at their 3D Learner Center in Boca Raton, FL. For more information visit our webpage at or call 561-361-7495.

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