DeSantis says FSA testing will end in Florida after this school year
CLEARWATER, FL – This will be the last school year for the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) exams in the state of Florida, Governor DeSantis announced Tuesday morning.
The governor described the FSA test as ineffective and said it takes days to administer and cannot be customized.
Instead, he says, it will be replaced by monitoring progress three times a year with shorter tests, which he says can be done in hours. The new program, the Florida Scheme for Assessing Student Thinking (FAST), will monitor student progress and promote individual growth, according to DeSantis.
In a press release, the governor’s office said Florida would become the first state to fully implement progress monitoring in place of standard testing at the end of the year and completely eliminate the common core. The release also said the new plan will reduce testing time by 75%.
Governor DeSantis announced at High Point Elementary School in Clearwater that students would benefit from using the Progress Monitoring approach. The school, where every student is considered to be from an economically disadvantaged family, used progress monitoring tools to track student growth. After working tirelessly throughout the school year, High Point Elementary was able to improve her grades from D to C.
Cassandra Viegel, a fifth-grade teacher in Clearwater, is excited about the potential change, telling ABC Action News, “I’m relieved that we’re going to take back the time to actually focus on what we should focus on and track it down in a way that’s best for you, not just a blank slate for everyone.”
Pinellas County Classroom Teachers Association President Nancy Villardee added, “We have asked that this be removed. It is a judgment that is inappropriate to the abilities of our students and certainly not a fair accountability of our teachers. It’s great news. Great news.”
The Florida Educational Association favored the move, saying it would free up time for real teaching and learning. School districts are also studying the governor’s decision, which was announced on Tuesday morning. (These comments can be found at the end of this story)
Big announcement made for JUST on high-risk tests. The government has announced an intention to drop high-risk FSA exams in the 2022-23 school year. It will save time for real teaching and learning, a move that has long been championed by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the local federations and our 150,000 members. pic.twitter.com/nzdI2sJtdR
Florida Educational Association (FloridaEA) September 14, 2021
“We appreciate that Commissioner Corcoran and the Florida Department of Education are listening to this issue and reducing the amount of standardized testing in Florida schools,” said Andrew Spar, president of the union. “FEA looks forward to continuing work on how Florida assesses students and teachers from K-12, so we can get this right in the long-term. This is a great opportunity to address how Progress Monitoring assessments are used to best serve students.”
In the current system, April and May schools are almost exclusively booked for testing, officials said at the press conference. They also called the Free Syrian Army obsolete.
The 2022-23 school year will be the first without the FSA exam.
School District Responses:
Hillsborough County Schools Director Addison Davis:
“I am excited that the state is taking the first big step in eliminating high-stakes testing. Moving to a progress monitoring design will allow educators to assess student proficiency with class standards in real time. As an organization, we are proud of the fact that our teachers have already engaged in this model to further inform the educational focus. Effectiveness. Hillsborough County Public Schools looks forward to learning more as the state works to improve upon this new innovative approach.” Supervisor Addison Davis
Cynthia Saunders, Director of Manatee County Schools:
“Our school district has been actively working on the transition to the Florida Standards for Student Excellence (BEST) since 2020 when it was adopted by the Florida Department of Education. We will continue this work and look forward to learning more about how the standards are best implemented and monitored.”
Hernando County School Principal John Stratton:
“This is an encouraging move. Teachers have embraced progress monitoring as the most reliable measure of learning growth. When captured in snapshots throughout the school year, students can see their growth, parents can understand the data and teachers can process it in real time. The governor’s decision gives more time to education and allows students to By demonstrating their learning over time. This is a win for the kids.”
Citrus County School Principal, Sandra “Sam” Himmel:
“We thank Governor DeSantis for his bold vision in getting rid of the last vestiges of the Common Core. We’ve always known that an individual aggregate test result, like the FSA, shouldn’t carry too much weight. Our schools struggle with using data to guide instruction when it’s only administered at the end of the school year Our governor recognizes the value of the Progress Monitoring assessments our teachers use to improve teaching and learning throughout the school year. We look forward to watching this act work its way through legislation and seeing it implemented next school year.”
Polk County Schools:
Our response: The PCPS will need to review the details of this legislation, but we are cautiously optimistic about our schools’ opportunity to demonstrate students’ academic growth and competence while carefully monitoring student progress throughout the year. https://t.co/7lJQq8AMAZ
– Polk County Public Schools (PolkSchoolsNews) September 14, 2021