DeSantis dumps FSA, proposes new assessment for students

Gov. Ron DeSantis ends standardized testing in Florida. Photo courtesy: The Washington Examiner

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday a legislative proposal that would bring the Florida Standards Assessments to an end and create a new program that would track student progress and help them develop individually.

The FSA was a standardized test in reading, writing and math, designed to measure students’ performance. DeSantis said that this concept is outdated and does not allow teachers to focus as much on students.

The new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking would consist of short, individualized check-in assessments three times per year, opposed to the FSA which takes days at a time.

“I think this is something that will make a really big difference. I think it’ll be something friendly to parents, and that the teachers would appreciate because they’ll be able to make adjustments and focus on the unique needs of each individual student,” said DeSantis.

This proposal has piqued the interests of many students, parents and teachers; but with interest comes questions and criticism, both negative and positive.

High school students seem to be interested in hearing more from DeSantis regarding his new plans.

Caliyah Pearson, a junior at Florida A&M University’s Developmental Research School, expressed her opinions on the matter.

“Kids on campus may think this is a great idea, but I personally don’t agree. We need to be able to see where our placement is. I do agree that this test is outdated, though, and we may need a new version of it instead,” Pearson said.

Parents, on the other hand, seem ecstatic about the cancellation of standardized testing but still have questions regarding the new testing and its contents.

“As a parent, I’m happy to hear about the possibility of having the standardized test cancelled. I feel the current test was, and is, not geared towards people of color… my question is will the testing be fair and geared evenly towards minorities,” Jewel Thomas, a parent of two students at Chiles High School, said.

DeSantis has already implemented this program at High Point Elementary school in Clearwater, where several students and teachers have benefited from the monitoring approach.

Progress monitoring will reduce testing time by 75 percent and will allow for students and parents to learn more about areas in academics that need improvement, and give them the opportunity to correct them throughout the year.

The transition to statewide progress monitoring will allow teachers to properly be able to monitor students’ growth and have conversations with parents that will help their child’s development.