Despite controversy and a plan to implement new procedures, the FCAT 2.0 is still Florida's primary standard achievement test.

The FCAT 2.0 is the state of Florida's standard achievement test for students in grades 3 to 5 and 6 to 8 as of the date of publication, and focuses on the subjects of Mathematics, Science, Reading and Writing. The mathematics portion of the test is divided into three reporting categories: Equations, Expressions and Functions; Geometry and Measurement and Number: Operations, Problems and Statistics.

Objectives With Equations, Expressions and Functions

Eighth grade students must produce and analyze graphs, tables and models to solve linear equations, linear functions, literal equations, one- and two-step inequalities and systems of linear equations that include analyzing range, domain and delineating discrete from continuous data. They must graph linear equations while interpreting x- and y-slope intercepts -- and compare graphs of linear and non-linear functions -- to solve real-world problems. They also translate various representations of linear functions: algebraic, graphical, verbal and tabular.

Objectives With Geometry and Measurement

In this category, students are expected to measure angles, including those produced by cutting parallel lines at different points. They work extensively with triangles, analyzing pairs of triangles to solve problems that focus on height and distance. They also have to exhibit understanding of the fact that the sum of the angles in a triangle is 180 degrees and use that knowledge to calculate the sums of angles in various polygons. They're expected to demonstrate understanding of the Pythagorean Theorem and apply that understanding to solve real-world problems and problems set on a coordinate graph. Students are also expected to compare and convert units of measurement between systems.

Objectives With Number: Operations, Problems and Statistics

In this category, students must produce and analyze data in lines, scatter plots and box-and-whisker plots to identify relationships, and show how data value-changes affect mean, median and mode. They must be able to write exponents and scientific notation, and to use both correctly to solve problems. Finally, they are expected to make "reasonable approximations" about square roots and expressions involving them. They also must know how to use these estimations to offer approximate solutions to problems that involve both radical expressions and real numbers.

Time, Format and Equipment

The FCAT is timed, consisting of two 70-minute sessions to complete between 60 and 65 total questions. Students get a short break in the middle of each session. As for the test format, each reporting category uses a combination of both multiple-choice and graphing questions. Eighth graders are also provided with a four-function calculator and a reference sheet that contains basic formulas for measurement and unit conversion.

Category Weight and Scoring

The reporting categories are weighted as follows: Expressions, Equations and Functions - 45 percent, Geometry and Measurement - 35 percent, Number: Operations, Problems and Statistics - 25 percent. The scores for eighth graders taking the mathematics portion of the FCAT 2.0 range from 140 to 298. This range broken into five categories, with level 1 being the lowest, and level 5 the highest. According to the FCAT 2.0 Fact Sheet, achievement of level 3 -- or a score ranging from 241 to 255 -- is considered satisfactory.