PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday announced the state is changing the way students are tested each year for academic understanding, putting an end to Common Core.
“Florida’s education focus should be students’ growth and how we restore the conversation between parents and teachers in support of students’ growth,” said DeSantis.
In a press conference, DeSantis announced legislation will be drafted to end Florida’s Standard Assessment (FSA) tests at the end of the 2021 school year and replace them with a progress monitoring system called Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T), which aims to foster individual growth, according to the governor’s office.
Under the old FSA, every Spring, Florida students are tested for hours at a time to obtain data that teachers, parents, and students analyze to see if progress, in terms of curriculum standards set by the state, are being met and examine students’ higher order thinking skills. Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that by the time the scores are released it may be too late for some students to do anything about it. The new plan will give teachers time to make any adjustments necessary to make sure students do not “fall through the cracks.”
“I call this V-Day,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said, calling the FSA “antiquated.” DeSantis will be helping to draft legislation to allow for progress monitoring three times per year.
The governor said progress monitoring, which is already occurring through the school year, would reduce testing in the schools by 75 percent, and would allow for more individualized testing that helps students and teachers make adjustments during the school year, keeping parents better informed, and will be unique to each student.
“That’s 75 percent less time for testing and more time for learning,” DeSantis said. “This way the teachers will know in real time how their students are progressing,”
The Florida Department of Education website described the FSA as a group of standardized tests in reading, writing, and math “designed to measure student performance. The test is tied to Florida’s Common Core-based standards, which outline what students should know at the end of each grade.”
“We believe that having results monitored and measured is very, very important, but we also think the FSA is outmoded at this point and we need to move forward with a more nimble and effective approach,” said DeSantis.
Seminole District Teacher of the Year for 2020 Sarah Hall has been teaching first grade in Seminole County for 19 years. She said this initiative has been a long time coming and is glad to see the FSA disappear.
“I will be able to provide targeted individualized interventions in a timely manner to monitor student achievement gaps,” Hall said.
DeSantis says the 2022-23 school year will be the “baseline” year for whatever new system the state implements.
“This is moving Florida forward in a good way,” DeSantis said. “I think we’ve hit a sweet spot here with this one and there will be a lot of support for this.”