DeSantis proposes FSA elimination

Student holding pencil taking school test
Student holding pencil taking school test
Natee Photo via Shutterstock

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday a legislative proposal to eliminate the Common Core based, end-of-the year Florida Statewide Assessment (FSA) testing.

In FSA’s place, a new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T.) plan will monitor student progress and foster individual growth. By developing the new proposal, Florida will become the first state in the nation to fully implement progress monitoring instead of end-of-year standardized testing and eliminate Common Core.

DeSantis made the announcement in Doral, Florida, with state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. They were joined by several teachers and students from Clearwater’s High Point Elementary School who have already benefited from utilizing the progress monitoring approach.

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“Florida’s education focus should be students’ growth and how we restore the conversation between parents and teachers in support of students’ growth,” DeSantis said. “In this final step to eradicate Common Core from our assessments, our administration is implementing the lessons learned from progress monitoring both during the state’s recovery and from our districts and schools that were already showing how we can better support students reaching their own unique growth goals.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was a leading champion of implementing Common Core, but in recent years it fell out of favor with people on both sides of the political aisle.  

Alachua County Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Carlee Simon—who is currently at odds with DeSantis over masks in schools—released a statement praising DeSantis for the proposal to end FSA testing after 2022. 

“This would be welcome news for educators, students and families in Florida,” Simon said in a statement. “Our district already conducts progress monitoring during the school year. But an enormous amount of time and effort also goes into preparing for and administering the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) near the end of each year. We agree with Gov. DeSantis that the time and effort could be better spent on instruction.”

According to the Florida Department of Education’s website, switching to the F.A.S.T. plan will restore the ability for parents and teachers to have impactful conversations about students’ growth by:

  • Eliminating the Florida Statewide Assessment.
  • Protecting Florida’s No. 1 in the nation accountability system that has lifted Florida to the top 3 in the nation and has done more to protect low income families, African American and Hispanic students, and children with unique abilities.
  • Utilizing progress monitoring to empower educators, parents, and most importantly students to a level never seen before.
  • Becoming the first state in the nation to switch from end-of-the-year assessments to state standards-aligned progress monitoring for accountability.
  • Reducing testing time, and minimizing the stress of testing to three much shorter “check-in” assessments in the fall, winter and spring.

“Each year, Governor DeSantis’ administration has been committed to a data-driven approach to constantly improving how Florida provides support to its teachers and turns the focus of education to how we impact our students, especially those representing achievement gaps,” Corcoran said in Tuesday’s release. “We started by creating more flexible pathways to teacher certifications, elevating the profession through massively increasing minimum compensation, providing relief to our teachers who kept education going throughout our recovery and across-the-board increasing our focus on professional development and instructional support.”

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