Jacksonville, Fl — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced his intent to eliminate the Florida Standards Assessment, or FSA.
During a morning news conference in Doral, DeSantis said he would introduce a bill in the upcoming legislative session to address what he calls an ‘outdated’ test.
Under the proposal, the 2022-2023 school year would serve as a ‘benchmark’ year to determine how children are assessed. DeSantis proposed replacing the FSA with progress monitoring.
“We will continue to set high standards but we also have to recognize it is the year 2021 and the FSA is quite frankly outdated”, DeSantis said.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran called the move “transformative” for students, parents and teachers.
DeSantis said he had received great feedback from leaders of the Florida House and Senate, and he is looking to gather more sponsors for the measure.
By turning to progress monitoring, DeSantis said students will be assessed three times per year, during the fall, winter and spring.
“There will be 75% less time for testing which will mean more time for learning”, said DeSantis.
The Florida Education Association released a statement in support of eliminating the FSA, saying that it will free up time for genuine teaching and learning.
“This is a great opportunity to address how we can use progress monitoring assessments to best serve students”, said FEA President Andrew Spar.
According to the Florida Department of Education, the FSA in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and end-of-course subjects (Algebra 1 and Geometry) serve Florida students by measuring education gains and progress. The Statewide Science Assessment is still administered to students in grades 5 and 8.
Reaction from several local teacher’s association has been supportive.
Terrie Brady, President of Duvals Teachers United said that members and school districts have been fighting for years to reduce the amount of time students spend taking standardized testing and the time teachers take to prepare the students.
“But,” she said, “We are not against measuring learning gains of students.”
Brady explained that new benchmarks must be put into place.
“Your job, your pay and student promotions should not be isolated to one test,” she continued. “I think teachers, students and families are going to be happy with this decision both long term and short-term.”
Michelle Dillion, President of the St. Johns Education Association says that cancelling the FSA’s is a testament to the hard work of the State’s Union - the Florida Education Association - and the members on the local level, the St. Johns County Education Association.
“I am happy with the news today,” she said. “The announcement was a pleasant surprise.”
Dillion stressed the need to understand that the association is not anti-testing. Tests, she says, provide insight into what students need to learn, what they are successful with and what they need to work on moving forward.
“We were concerned that we were hanging our hats on high stakes, make-or-break tests,” she said. “This was a single test that dominated weeks and weeks of the school calendar that could otherwise be used for meaningful instruction.”
Dillion described the tests as stressful.
“We are thrilled to see the removal of a high stakes test that literally took over a month, if not more of the student calendar, which was very stressful to students and parents alike.”
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