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DeSantis scraps FSA, adopts new student progress monitoring system

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by PAT RAIA, [email protected]

The current school year will be the last that tests student achievement at the end of the year according to a proposed legislative plan that will monitor student progress three times during the academic year instead. Unveiled by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sept. 14, the proposal will end the Florida Statewide Assessment (FSA) common core testing in Florida.

Launched in 2010, the Common Core State Standards Initiative (Common Core) tests and records the English language arts, and mathematics skills of students in grades K-12 nationwide.

“It’s 2021 and the FSA is frankly outdated,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Doral. “We need to move forward with a more nimble approach.”

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DeSantis’ plan would create Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST), a new testing system that would administer student progress assessments three times during the academic year instead of just once in order to address students’ specific learning needs.

“It (FSA) takes days to administer, leaving less time for student learning,” DeSantis said. “This (FAST takes hours, not days – they’ll be 75 percent less time for testing.”

Because assessments take place through the school year, the new system would allow teachers to monitor student growth in real time, and provide parents with timely information about student progress.

“These progress monitoring tools will be customizable – even unique to each student – and gives information in a timely manner during the school year so (teachers) can make the necessary corrections,” DeSantis said. “With FSA, you get the results after the school year, so you can’t go back and fix that.”

In a social media posting, the Florida Education Association (FEA) praised the plan.

“It will free up time for genuine teaching and learning, a move that the Florida Education Association, local unions and our 150,000 members have long advocated,” the FEA posting said.

The FAST plan will be a major legislative focus when the body reconvenes in January, DeSantis said.

“But I think we’re going to get a lot of support for it,” he stated.

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