Some raising questions about plan to drop standardized testing in Florida schools

Education

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gov. Ron DeSantis said he plans to get rid of the Florida Standards Assessments, the state’s standardized math and reading tests at a Tuesday press conference in Doral. He later made a similar appearance and announcement in Clearwater later in the afternoon.

The governor said he was crafting new legislation that will phase out FSA testing during the 2022-23 school year, ending what’s known as high-stakes testing in Florida’s public schools.

Instead, educators will use progress monitoring to evaluate students’ performance. The new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking plan, or F.A.S.T. Plan, will use student monitoring to “foster individual growth,” according to a governor’s office press release.

The governor said he hopes to have it passed and implemented in time for the next school year.

The plan has garnered widespread support from parents, teachers and various school unions.

“Regardless of whether governor DeSantis agrees with us on most things or disagrees with us on most things, I would hope that we can all agree that we need to be looking for what’s good for the kids and what’s good for a public schools. So this is a huge win for us,” said Polk Education Association President Stephanie Yocum.

Some educational experts said they are left with questions about the plan, and whether it can be pulled off fully by next year.

“We don’t have the details. So we don’t really know. What we’ve heard is that there’s progress monitoring that’s going to occur periodically, perhaps three times a year. We don’t know the details yet of how that’s going to play out. So there are a lot of questions that are still there that need to be asked,” said Dr. Vonzell Agosto, Professor of Educational leadership & Policy Studies with the University of South Florida. “There are questions about bias and the types of assessments that will be used, and what’s being taught or what’s being assessed, as well as the practice itself of how that will fall out.”

Over the next few weeks, state lawmakers will be working on drafting new legislation to enact the progress monitoring plan and how to implement changes to remove the FSA for the 2022 to 2023 school year.

“They will not do the traditional grading, there will be a year to set the baseline, and then the following year we will go forward with the grade,” DeSantis said

“I’m sure something can be done in a year, we just don’t know the quality. That really is what it comes down to. What is this assessment assessing? How well is it assessing what it should be assessing,” said Agosto.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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