Pencils Down: The End of FSA
Florida students all around the state, frantically worrying about the big day. The 2 hour test that gradually turned into a life sentence for most students: the Florida Standards Assessment. “How can I study?” Students ask. There was never an answer until March 15, 2022: The FSA has been officially eliminated.
In lieu of the stress-inducing assessments, progress monitoring will be the new efficient yet convenient form of documenting improvement for students and teachers. FAST, (Florida’s Assessment of Student Thinking) will be officially set in stone by the 2022-23 school year.
FAST will be a progress monitoring tool that gives schools 2 opportunities to improve. (FLGOV). Given that FSA took days and time from learning, FAST allows more learning time and less disruption.
Students who panicked weeks before the exam–wondering if they were prepared or even worthy of passing–now have an advantage. FAST will ensure that teachers are aware of the material on the exam and what to prepare students for. However, all exams will be according to each student and their own capabilities. The “progress” factor to this new method ensures that students will improve throughout the year by taking multiple versions of the test. Instead of 4 hour tests in one sitting, it will now be less time and less questions–spread out throughout the semesters.
Given that tests will be distributed throughout the year, the subjects and topics of each test will also have their own time period. Common subjects such as mathematics and language arts will take place in the beginning of the school year. Based on the results of the given test scores, comprehensive tests that match a student’s academic abilities will be administered at the end of the school year (Miami Herald). Principal of PPCHS–Mr. Bayer–feels curious as to what this new program will have in store for the future. After many years of looking after Charter, a new program seems foreign to everyone, especially Mr. Bayer. “It’s too soon to tell how effective the Progress Monitoring assessments will be…” Principal Bayer says. “But I understand the logic behind the initiative…students and teachers should know where a student’s progress is long before an end of year, high stakes exam.”
Many students and teachers feel the same, although some feel more confident in this new program. Sophomore Lauren Trybalski realizes that this is her last year taking the FSA either way. “Honestly, I never really understood the point of FSA’s,” Lauren explained. “It would be a waste of time and put a strain on my mental health and especially academics. In the past, the FSA would determine future class selections and even determine certain awards, which also added a lot of pressure to me and other students.” Around this time, sophomores are taking their last sets of FSA: the writing and reading portions. Both taking place in different months, the FSA determines awards such as the Seal of Biliteracy–in which students earn a seal on their diploma for high achievement in a foreign language. Students are required to score a 4 or higher on their 10th grade FSA reading exam in order to get the gold seal.
However, underclassmen are still required to now complete the new and improved method of progress checking. Although many are still unsure as to what the progress checking will hold, students and teachers will test it out coming soon in the 2022-2023 school year.