[Brief] FAST Writing Field Test and EOC/AP Exam review day held at MSD

Vincent Ciullo, Writer

The Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) Writing Field Test was held at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Thursday, April 6 for sophomores. This exam is part of the new FAST tests which students at MSD have taken over the course of the 2022-23 school year.

Following Senate Bill 1048 passed by the Florida legislature, which removed Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) in March 2022, schools across the state began administering the new FAST tests, also called progress-monitoring tests.

These tests, administered to students three times across the duration of the school year, are designed to determine the growth of students in subjects including reading, writing and mathematics. The FSA was only taken by students at the end of the year to monitor student progress; however Governor Ron Desantis changed this because he believed it was not a beneficial way to assess students.

“Next year, Florida will become the first state in the nation to do a full transition to progress monitoring to inform school accountability,” Gov. DeSantis said in September.

While these exams are replacing the FSA, there is uncertainty regarding the impact the testing results have on the graduation eligibility of sophomore students. In addition to this, some students feel that there is less of a stress of importance over these tests compared to the FSA.

“Nobody is really talking about [the test],” sophomore Maya Littman said. “Teachers and students aren’t making a big deal out of it like they do for the FAST Reading Test we take for English.”

For the rest of the student body, April 6 was a Professional Study Day at MSD, meaning dismissal occurs at 11:40 a.m., rather than the usual time of 2:40 p.m. Instead of it being an instructional day, review sessions for AP and EOC classes were offered to the students taking those courses at MSD.

Freshmen, juniors and seniors were provided a form to complete indicating which class sessions they wished to attend. There were two review sessions throughout the day that students could select, each lasting 90 minutes.

“While the reviews made me remember some things, they were not a huge help and overall I could have lived without it,” freshman Audrey Cooper said. “Most of the topics I remembered and didn’t need a lot of touching up on.”

Considering this is the first school year that FAST testing is replacing the FSA, there isn’t confirmation if the review sessions will continue to take place for non-sophomore students, however some students have expressed negative reactions toward this year’s review sessions.