JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Big changes are coming to Florida schools next school year: Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill that will do away with the Florida Standards Assessments.
It’ll be replaced with a progress monitoring system called the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T.) -- tests taken three times a year by prekindergarten through tenth-grade students.
The Department of Education claims the tests will be shorter and less stressful, calling them “check-in” assessments in the Fall, Winter and Spring.
“So, what? It’s a shell game. You still have to teach to a test because even if they take away the FSA, they still have the PMA,” teacher Elwood Thompson said.
He doesn’t feel doing away with the FSA is enough.
“If we could get rid of state testing. Period. Get rid of standardized testing,” he said. “I would love to abolish all standardized tests and focus on learning.”
Governor DeSantis says progress monitoring tracks students’ performance throughout the school year, offering them opportunities for better feedback, and giving teacher time to focus on areas of improvement.
“This type of assessment was much more effective than kind of the big, study for weeks, all the marbles on the last test, and then adjourn for the summer,” Governor DeSantis said.
The bill also limits class time spent on state testing to five percent. Even at that, Thompson feels teaching for tests takes away from student learning.
“So how do you actually teach your subject matter? Because you’re teaching to a test, still, it doesn’t change anything,” he said. “It focuses on ‘what do I do to pass this test?’”
Thompson feels lawmakers are merely “shifting things around,” and worries such tests do more harm than good.
“Some of the kids get such anxiety, they just don’t want to come, they fear failure,” Thompson added.
The bill will go into effect on July first.
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