Effects of the Annulment of the FSA

Logo for the FAST Exam
Source: https://www.flgov.com/202/09/14/govenor-desantis-announces-end-of-the-high-stakes

Logo for the FAST Exam Source: https://www.flgov.com/202/09/14/govenor-desantis-announces-end-of-the-high-stakes

By Armando Medina, Staff Writer

  The Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) we all know and “loved” has been terminated. Time will only tell how this will affect students in the future. 


Why was The FSA terminated 

    The FSA was the test that replaced the FCAT in 2015. Its replacement was seen as controversial because many critics saw it as the Common Core system. In general it forced teachers and students to cram and stress over an exam that would take place at the end of the year. According to the article “Florida Standards Assessment Finally Eliminated” by television news station WPTV.com, the main reason it was eliminated was to fully get rid of the Common Core system that plagued schools.   

    The FSA also didn’t allow for any remediation or support to struggling students due to the results for it not arriving until late into the summer. And with the removal of the FSA comes the new standard for testing in Florida, named FAST. 


What will replace the FSA? 

   According to the article, “BEST Assessments”, by the Florida Department of Education, the FAST is a series of 3 different exams that will take place throughout the year. These are not standardized assessments but progress monitoring assessments that see how students are doing and how they might improve. FAST testing begins in the 2022-23 school year for reading, writing, and mathematics and the BEST curriculum will be implemented starting 2024. 


 The Benchmark for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) encompasses all exams that do not fall under the FAST progress monitoring system such as writing for 4th – 10th grades and EOC exams in Algebra 1 and Geometry. 


What do the FAST and BEST hope to accomplish? 

    The desire of these new exams is to improve the testing experience by giving students multiple chances to improve upon the fields that they struggle in. Students have 3 chances to test per year, so teachers can chart the students’ improvements and what they need any remediation on. According to FLGOV.com it is the plan of the FLDOE to transition Florida into being the first state in the US to swap to these progress monitoring parameters as opposed to normal standardized testing.  


How do teachers feel about the changes? 

    The introduction of the FAST has received a mixed perception from teachers in the English Department due to how the exam is set up. Teachers believe that the 3 chances that students receive is a boon as well as a hindrance at times.  The sponsor of the English Honor Society, Mr. Jimenez, said, “The idea that students get multiple chances is great, but also students will not take it as seriously because they may think of it as a free pass.”  

    9th grade English teacher Ms. Arias believes that this test can be very disruptive to students as a whole because they have to be pulled out of class 3 times per year to take the exams. Similarly, 9th grade English teacher Ms. Peyno recommends, “Students should take this exam in class as opposed to being dragged out of multiple periods to take it.” 



How have students responded to the change from the FSA to the FAST? 

    For 9th and 10th grade students the sudden swap from FSA to FAST has been quite jarring to say the least. Some students feel concerned about just coming off the back of the litany of tests they took before the last school year ended just to be hit with a major test 4 weeks into the new school year. 9th grader Alejandro Medina said, “Taking an exam so soon after coming back to school was exhausting.” 

   Those students that had to take the FAST and take any retake exams might as well have been just put back into that testing phase of their previous school year. However, 10th grader Kevin Suarez believes that it is good that they do get multiple chances to take the exam.