Governor Ron DeSantis attempts to end Florida Standards Assessments and replace them with progress monitoring


Tribune News Service

Fifth grader Evelyn Duran works on a writing assignment O’Neal Elementary School in Elgin Friday. The district superintendent is among hundreds in Illinois who want standardized testing waived this spring. Photo courtesy of Stacey Wescott

Phiona Smith, Writer

Due to a long and thorough period of debates by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, the Florida Standards Assessments will not be administered for the 2022-2023 school year.

The FSA is a standardized test given to grades 3-10 to assess the reading, writing and math skills of students with the purpose of measuring student performance throughout the whole school year. Each year, the Governor’s administration commits to a back-end approach to improve how Florida provides support to its teachers and on how well they impact students.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has implemented a new plan which he feels will improve student growth. The test, named the ‘Florida Assessment of Student Thinking,’(F.A.S.T.) will mark Florida as the first state in the nation to fully transition to progress monitoring and fully terminate the Common core. F.A.S.T. consist of three shorter tests over the time period of just a few hours rather than taking days to complete.

The 2022-2023 school year will act as a ‘benchmark’ year to regulate how students will be assessed in the future. This means the state will not issue grades for schools, which are determined by student achievement on the FSA, causing the upcoming school year to act as a baseline for next year. The overall goal is to improve progress monitoring moving forward.

“We believe a system of progress monitoring where you have more streamlined periodic assessments would be much more student, parent and teacher friendly,” Gov. DeSantis said at a roundtable event on Sept. 20.

F.A.S.T. will offer progress monitoring throughout the course of the year; giving teachers and administrators the opportunity to meet students where they are and overall help determine which students are not responding sufficiently to instruction.

“I am definitely not a fan of the [FSA] or high stakes testing in general, but I am waiting for specific details about the [F.A.S.T.],” English teacher Debra Jacobson said.

Gov. DeSantis is also proposing a 75% reduction to the amount of time dedicated to taking assessments, allowing teachers to have more time to teach and students more time to learn. This proposition gives teachers the chance to do more teaching of curriculum than test proctoring.

“I don’t really consider the FSA test to be necessary, because they do take up a lot of time that could be used for engaging in education,” junior Alexandra Senior said. “They also cause a lot of stress and are overall just a waste of time.”

With progress monitoring, the new F.A.S.T. will administer three short exams in the fall, winter, and spring to monitor student progress, providing for more instructional time as well as saving BCPS’ funds.

“We need to measure results, we will continue to do it, we will continue to set high standards,” Gov. DeSantis said at a news conference in Miami Dade County on xxxx. “But we also have to recognize that this is the year 2021 and the FSA is, quite frankly, outdated.”

Comparing FSA test results of 2019 and 2021, Broward County Public Schools’ FSA scores have declined in all categories with the sharpest decline in math scores according to data posted by the State Department of Education.

With the transition to statewide progress monitoring, families and teachers will be able to have effective conversations about student growth more frequently as well as have student growth adjusted as needed throughout the school year.