School prepares for new student assessment

School prepares for new student assessment

Students have regularly taken the Florida Statewide Assessments near the end of the school year. But with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ new proposal, students will be taking three assessments instead of one.

This new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking and will be administered in three separate sessions, during fall, winter and spring to better help teachers plan.

“I believe [FAST] would provide more information on my individual students, and more information is always better to have,” reading teacher Kim Bracken said. “So it would help me to plan out my year better.”

But Guidance Director Mike Drake said the new test is unnecessary.

“What makes the most sense to us are PSAT scores. If students score well enough on the PSAT, that should suffice as their graduation requirements and [students should] not have to worry about anything else,” he said.

This new testing plan may also cause changes within the curriculum, according to Bracken.

“I believe the proposed changes from FSA to progress monitoring would provide teachers with regular data throughout the year, and that will be very helpful for them to determine the scope and sequence of planning,” she said.

FAST will be initiated in the 2022-2023 school year, and it has not yet been announced whether this will affect current graduation requirements. But Drake said it is unlikely the state will keep the current basic requirements which include passing the 10th grade ELA FSA and the Algebra 1 EOC.

“In the future, I don’t know if they’re going to keep those two things [graduation requirements for math and reading] or if they’re going to go to a system where they look at something else,” Drake said.

Bracken said she believes FAST should improve student assessment.

“I believe that part of the governor’s plan was to consider the stress that’s on the students and to take it to take away a little bit of that by not having it be such a high-stakes test, and more just as an assessment, that will help to allow the teachers to plan effectively for the students,” she said.

Bracken said she does not know what the new progress monitoring will be like, but she believes this change in testing is necessary.

“It’s hard to say what I prefer, because I haven’t seen the new progress monitoring in place yet,” she said. “But for me, it’s important that we continue to have very high standards for our students, and it’s important that we properly assess them for their learning.”

By Saaketh Kesireddy