No More FSA, Hello FAST (Florida Assessment of Student Thinking)

Alexandria Williams , Staff Writer

 Now that Desantis has signed the bill to end the FSA, what exactly is this new system set in place for testing this year? This new system is called FAST (Florida Assessment of Student Thinking) which is designed to measure the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST). FAST is said to be a much faster way of testing students, unlike the FSA, which involves taking 2 parts–Reading and Math. This new way of testing will take 75% less time than the FSA, and will be administered 3 times a year. The grades that will be taking this new exam are VPK-10th grade (The Daytona Beach News journal). Taking this test multiple times a year may help students improve, since it gives them 2 chances to improve after the initial examination.

     Although there are many benefits from this new way of testing, there can also be some disadvantages. There will most likely be more work added for teachers. And although it may seem like they are reducing testing, they are actually increasing it, because, unlike the FSA, you have to take this exam more than once per year. One student, freshman Moriah Sejour, stated: “I thought that they were going to switch us to SAT because there was no writing involved just multiple choice. I took a lot of those before I came to this school.” When asked if she felt that this new way of testing was more time-consuming and stressful, she stated, “Yeah…and we take it throughout the school year along with assignments, quizzes, warm up’s, tests, and then final exams so that’s a whole pack!” Another student, freshman Mia Plasencia, who has never really heard about this new way of testing, stated, “[She] feel[s] neutral about it since [she] don[esn’t] know much about it, but [she] feel[s] like it may be very stressful since we have to take it three times a year, as well as other tests we may have to take in other classes.” Freshman Sheavitha Vijeyakumar also stated that “To be honest having 3 exams throughout the year may sound stressful. In my eyes, it’s amazing for memorization. If the exam were to cover what the student has learned quarter by quarter, then it would be easy to break down studying, and easy to memorize topics students learned from the beginning. I think it would be a great way to see [the] true amount of brain power [you have] with this method. Since students tend to forget things they have first learned, having an exam before [they forget] would be excellent.”

   These freshmen have to take this exam this year in the upcoming months; this will be the first time Florida has had this exam, and we don’t know how it will go. This exam has been said to benefit our students, so let’s hope that’s just what it will do. This exam can either be better than the FSA or even worse, and we will be finding out soon.