FL Court Allows Test Scrutiny

K-12 Testing

A Florida judge has ruled that students have a right to view their scored answers on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) as well as the questions that were administered. The suit was brought on behalf of a student who failed the FCAT high school graduation exam. The child’s guardian sought the right to inspect the test in order to determine what areas the student had failed.


The court did not say how parents could review the tests, instead ordering the state to negotiate a process with the plaintiffs. If negotiations fail, the judge will order a solution.


State officials decried the ruling, arguing it would compromise test security and cost more money, since test items would have to be replaced more frequently. The state is expected to appeal.


The ruling does not mean that the tests will be publicly available. Some states allow parents to view exams under secure conditions, often preventing them from even taking notes. A few states publish all or most of the items on their tests, but do not necessarily make students’ test booklets available to either teachers or parents. For example, Massachusetts each year releases the test items that count toward scores, but does not allow anyone to see students’ actual responses. A parent has now publicly challenged that policy, for the same reason as in the Florida case: the desire to help children overcome the graduation test hurdle.