FSA testing cancelled

On Sept. 14, 2021, Gov. Ron Desantis alongside the Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced the end of FSA standardized testing in Florida. 

Desantis plans to create the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T) plan, which replaces end of year standardized testing with individualized progress monitoring. According to the Washington Examiner, in order to fully eliminate the FSA and implement this new plan, DeSantis proposed $15.5 million in recurring funding. 

Common core standards are math and reading skills that students practice at every grade level. Common core standards were created in 2010 by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers with the help of parents, teachers and experts. In 2020, DeSantis announced the common core replacement, called Benchmark for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) standards.

  DeSantis said that the new assessments would allow timely data on the students during the school year so that educators can make adjustments. 

“We need to measure results, we will continue to do so, we will continue to set high standards,” DeSantis said. “But we also have to recognize that this is the year 2021 and the FSA is, quite frankly, outdated.”

According to Desantis’ website, the 2021-2022 school year will be the last school year to do FSA testing. With this transition out of standardized testing to statewide progress monitoring, Florida will be able to improve the ability of parents and teachers to have conversations about their child’s growth. 

“I am apprehensive when they say testing will end because it always means something more will be created to take away from real instruction,” English 1 teacher Dr. Yvette Avery said.

According to 10 Tampa Bay, many union members wanted to spend less time dealing with standardized testing and preparation and more time doing actual teaching 

“I feel that it’s a good thing and it’s well past its time,” AP English teacher Deborah Anderson said. “It should’ve ended a while back. My ways of teaching aren’t going to change because the standards aren’t going to change. They may rewrite the standards a little, but the goals are still the same.”

According to NCCRS, FSA exam results are made to drive instruction and make goals for the state’s schools. FSA results also measure a student’s readiness for graduation as well as school-based goals. 

“I don’t have to stress about failing it anymore,” sophomore Jada Harvey said. “But, doing three tests feels way more stressful than doing one. You also have to study more often than before.” 

However, F.A.S.T plans to have the tests customizable and unique for each student, implementing 75 percent less testing time and more time for learning so that students can have more knowledge for the tests. The F.A.S.T plan would end for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Although the details aren’t laid out exactly from Gov. Ron Desantis, FSA results from 2021 have shown that students have done worse than they have in 2019. F.A.S.T plans to fill in that gap and lead students towards a better future.