Local students have more time to take the writing portion of the stadarized test.
Fourth, eighth and tenth graders across the state are taking the wrting portion of their FCAT today.
It's an updated version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Last year's scores dropped significantly as the state debuted tougher standards, putting more emphasis on grammar, punctuation, spelling and the ability to use supporting details to make a logical argument.
The percentage of fourth grade students receiving a passing score fell from 81 percent the year before, to 27 percent. The state board of education made an emergency rule to lower the passing score.
This year, students get additional time to write their essays. They'll have a full hour, instead of 45 minutes. Also, teachers had more time to prepare their students to the scoring changes.