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Governor Ron DeSantis announces legislation to end Florida Standards Assessment

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Governor Ron DeSantis made an announcement during a press conference on Tuesday stating his plan to end the Florida Standards Assessments.

Gov. DeSantis Announces F.A.S.T.

Governor DeSantis introduces the new Florida Assessments of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T) progress monitoring for Florida students – individualized, short, check-in assessments that will take hours, not days & reduce overall test time by 75%.

Posted by Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The FSA will be replaced with a progress monitoring program.

“We want to measure results,” DeSantis said. “We want to make sure people are actually learning at the same time you can’t be wedded to the old ways of doing things.”

Instead of high stakes testing districts will be using a program called FAST; short for Florida Assessment of Student Thinking.

“Every district in the state of Florida is required to do progress monitoring so it is something we already do,” Dr. Jennifer Hawthorne, Deputy Superintendent of Walton County School District said. “We typically do it three to four times a year as soon as the kid starts school. and then we monitor them in the winter, spring, and then before we get out of school. It tells us students strengths and weaknesses.”

Local school leaders like Hawthorne are now waiting to see if this legislation passes. If it does, this will be the last school year students are faced with end-of-year high-stakes tests. It will also end common core in Florida classrooms.

“We wouldn’t have to progress monitor and do the FSA in the month of May, so it would be less testing for both students and parents as they support them,”
Hawthrone said.

The governor’s plan has three main points:

  • Becoming the first state in the nation to switch from the end of the year assessments to state standards-aligned progress monitoring for accountability.
  • Minimizing the stress of testing to three much shorter tests in the Fall, Winter, and Spring that will inform students, teachers, and parents about students’ growth, rather than a single lengthy end-of-year assessment that halts learning and leaves zero opportunity for improvement.
  • Reducing testing time an average of 75% through progress monitoring, increasing time for teaching, and providing more timely, usable feedback to help students reach their unique goals.

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

The governor’s plan will go before lawmakers in the next legislative session. It does have the backing of the state education commissioner, who points out much of April and May is currently spent preparing for these tests.

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