Google Chrome and Flash
Some users have reported issues with updating their Flash players to access some FCAT Explorer programs. If you experience a blank, blue screen, or if a specific program fails to launch after sign-in, you may need to update your Flash player. To do that, use the links on the Technical Help page to first uninstall and then reinstall your Flash player.
If, however, you have Google Chrome installed on your computer, you may not be able to update your Flash player using the links on the Technical Help page. Chrome has integrated the Flash player application into its platform. You will either need to use FCAT Explorer exclusively in Chrome, or you will need to follow the instructions on the Google Chrome Forum page found here.
As testing times near, the FCAT Explorer Helpdesk sees a significant increase in calls related to passwords. To help resolve some of these problems consider the following:
Parents and Students
First, if your child's sign-in name and password include a date of birth, or part of a date of birth, remember to use numeric zeroes and not the letter O (for example, 59smio719 is not the same as 59smi0719). In addition, many times a problem logging in is the result of user error. Help your student carefully type in the sign-in name and password.
If you think there might be an error in the sign-in information your student received, or if you have any problem logging in, please call the Helpdesk at 888-750-3228, and we will be glad to assist you.
Student sign-in names and passwords may follow a pattern set up by your district office. There may be exceptions to this pattern, however. The best practice for making sure students have the correct sign-in name and password is to log in to FCAT Explorer, create a class, and print out student log-in tickets that can be handed out. This ensures that students have a sign-in name and password that matches what is in the database. In addition, setting up classes allows you to run reports on student activity. If you need help setting up classes, printing log-in tickets, or running reports, contact the Helpdesk at 750-888-3228
If you do not have your teacher log-in credentials, contact your school administrator, or call the Helpdesk. Helpdesk hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Students Missing From Your School? Call Before You Add!
As teachers begin creating and managing classes of students in FCAT Explorer, they often notice that some students do not appear in the school roster. These missing students most likely have transferred from another school. Before you try to add a missing student, consider calling the FCAT Explorer Helpdesk. We can transfer the missing student, in most cases, and keep any data collected at the previous school with the student's account. Transferring students through the Helpdesk prevents students from having to start over in a program.
The Helpdesk is available by phone from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM Monday through Friday. If the line is busy when you call, leave a message with the students' first and last name (spelling helps), date of birth and the name of the school to transfer the student to. You can also use the "Contact Us" link on the home page to send us details or contact information if you have a large group needing transfers. The Helpdesk number is 888-750-3228.
Review for End-of-Course Exams with Math Machine
The high school math program in FCAT Explorer includes a feature which might prove helpful to those preparing to take the End-of Course exams in Geometry. Math Machine, found in Math Timeline, provides six lessons on fundamental geometric concepts. These lessons include guided instruction, vocabulary-building activities, and increasingly challenging problems. The lessons include review of Polygons, Transformations, Symmetry, Angle Pairs, Angle Relationships, and the Pythagorean Theorem.
To access the lessons, sign-in to FCAT Explorer and select Math Timeline. Once the program opens, look for the link to Math Machine in the bottom center of the screen.
Teacher Training Available
The FCAT Explorer/Focus Support Services Team is available to provide training to teachers and staff across the state. Support Services Staff can train any teacher, media specialist, school administrator, or other school staff in using the FCAT Explorer and Focus Teacher's Desk features.
Using a conference call format, Support Services Staff can provide hands-on, step-by-step guidance through the features of the Teacher's Desk, including enrollment, class and student management, reports, program features, and content review. Training can be done on an individual or group basis.
To schedule a teacher training session, call 1-888-750-3228.
Extra Practice with Free ePAT Downloads
The Florida Department of Education has partnered with Pearson Education to offer downloadable electronic practice assessment tests, known as ePATS. The practice testing environment is identical to the testing platform the students will experience on test day. These programs can help students become familiar with the test format and online tools used in the new electronic FCAT.
You can access the practice tests via the FLDOE portal. You may need to download the launcher to run the assessments on your computer. Options for both Mac and Windows platforms are available. Retakes, FCAT 2.0 and End-of-Course practice tests are available. Options for Accomodated (TestHear) versions are available as well.
Science Standards Update: Florida NGSSS versus National NGSS
The National Research Council, the National Science Teacher's Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Achieve have been working to develop the National Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). When the final draft of the NGSS is released, the FLDOE will analyze the NGSS to determine whether the new national science standards meet the goals and mission of the FLDOE strategic plan to best meet the needs of the students in Florida’s public schools. For the 2013-14 school year, the Florida science course descriptions will be comprised of the Florida NGSSS and the Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy and Mathematics.
On statewide science assessments, students in Florida public schools will continue to be tested on the Florida Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for Science.
Are you using CA Security Suites as your virus protection?
Recently, the Support Services Team has received calls from home users who were having difficulty accessing parts of the FCAT Explorer program. After further discussion with users, we found that certain Internet Service Providers are using CA Security Suites (also CA Technologies) for virus protection.
Please contact us toll-free at (888)750–3228 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm), for our recommendations on how to resolve this issue.
FCAT Explorer and Adobe Flash
Are you up to date?
Currently, most FCAT Explorer programs will run under Adobe Flash Player 6.0. However, it is a good idea to update the Flash Player program on your computer, especially if you want to take advantage of the new features planned for FCAT Explorer.
In June 2008, we launched Science Station: 5th Grade Benchmarks. Science Station and other programs launched in the new school year will run under Adobe Flash Player 7.0.
Please note: The current Flash Player version is 10.0, so if you've updated since October 2008, your Flash player will support all FCAT Explorer programs.
You can download Adobe Flash Player at no cost from the Adobe site. Click here to download Adobe Flash Player.
If you have problems installing the new Flash Player, you can find help from Adobe at this site: http://www.adobe.com/support/flashplayer/.