For Anthony Marzouca, a third-grade student at Manatee Elementary School in Lake Worth, obtaining a perfect score on the FCAT was challenging but not difficult. He is self-motivated, determined and practices his reading and writing skills everyday for at least 20 minutes.
“Anthony is very good with math, so we focus on his reading comprehension and writing skills at home,” said his mother, Kisha Marzouca. “I ask him questions about the passages that he reads and give him prompts about everyday activities so he can write short essays.”
Anthony is among 138 students attending Palm Beach County public schools who obtained the maximum possible score in both sections of the statewide assessment test.
Among students attending classes in the School District of Palm Beach, 33 third-graders had perfect scores in reading and math, 39 in fourth grade, seven in fifth grade, 24 in sixth grade, 11 in seventh grade, 19 in eighth grade and five in 10th grade.
The FCAT is given every year to students in grades 3 through 11 to determine their mastery skills in math, reading, science and writing. Preparing for the test is taken seriously by students, who work closely with teachers to learn the lessons and strategies necessary. Parents have the responsibility to reinforce the skills at home.
During the weeks prior to the test, students learn about test-taking rules and how to deal with test anxiety, pacing and timing. They also practice short and long written responses, vocabulary questions and essay writing tips.
Various departments create opportunities for parents to learn about different ways to help their children understand the content and material needed not only for the test but also for all their lessons and subject areas. The students have access to resources at school, libraries, community centers and online to practice and get familiar with the test.