DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - During a South Florida stop, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the state is moving to get rid of the Florida Standards Assessments, a move that has been met with widespread approval from educators and parents.
In a press conference held Tuesday at Doral Academy Preparatory School, DeSantis announced that his office is crafting legislation for the upcoming legislative session to end the FSA.
“This will be the last school year in terms of the FSA,” he said.
The FSA are standardized tests given to students in grades 3-10 that test them on their English, science and mathematics skills.
Parents who spoke with 7News are critical of these tests.
“I think that there’s a lot of stress on these students getting prepared just for one test,” said parent Lolita White.
“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea, because they already have to study for the other tests,” said another parent.
Teachers union leaders also take issue with the FSA.
“The FSA is nothing but a waste of time,” said Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union.
DeSantis said the FSA will instead be replaced with “progress monitoring,” where educators will regularly check in with students in the fall, winter and spring.
“We believe that having results monitored and measured is very, very important, but we also think that the FSA is outmoded at this point,” said DeSantis.
The governor said that kind of days-long testing administered at the end of a school year doesn’t accurately portray what a student learns.
“We need to move forward with a more, I’d say, nimble and effective approach,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis said the goal is for the current school year to be the final one that uses FSA testing and to have progress monitoring by the 2022-23 school year.
“This is short, individualized checking assessments three times per year. This will take hours, not days,” he said.
The governor said this will allow teachers and parents to have real-time information about how their students are doing.
“I think this is something that will make a really, really big difference,” said DeSantis. “I think it’ll be something that’s very friendly to parents. I think it’ll be something that teachers will appreciate because they’ll be able to make adjustments and really focus on the unique needs of each individual student.”
“When you eliminate or reduce testing, guess what happens: that’s more teaching, and more teaching means you’re giving these kids a better education,” said Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.
Teachers unions across South Florida were quick to support the decision.
“It is a great win for students first, families, teachers, school boards, school districts, that the FSA will no longer be,” said Fusco.
The move was also well-received by Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Broward County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie Cartwright.
“I concur with the position of the governor and the commissioner about the fact that there are better ways of assessing students today, rather than relying on one single end-of-year assessment that is all-inclusive,” said Carvalho.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to engage in these conversations with our Department of Education as we look to what an innovative program will look like,” said Cartwright.
Parents said this has been a long time coming.
“I think it makes more sense to be monitoring the kids as the year goes along,” said White.
“I think the kids need to be prepared, not for only the tests, for the FSAs. They need to get to be ready,” said parent Ginette Jonassaint.
Local students said they also like the idea of less testing.
“I think that’s a pretty good idea, especially with the things that are going on, people that are behind and stuff like that. I feel like that would really help,” said student Laureen Jonassaint.
“I kind of agree with both sides,” said another student.
The governor’s announcement was also well-received by the Florida Education Association.
“We appreciate that Commissioner Corcoran and the Florida Department of Education are listening on this issue and are reducing the amount of standardized testing in Florida’s schools,” said FEA President Andrew Spar in a statement. “The FEA looks forward to continuing to work on how Florida assesses K-12 students and teachers, so we can get it right in the long term. This is a great opportunity to address how we can use progress monitoring assessments to best serve students.”
School district officials said they will be closely monitoring the changes.
“Obviously, we’re going to be very attentive to legislative processes that will seek to bring to the state appropriate replacements for these assessments,” he said.
“This is an example of where the details are going to be extraordinarily important on how we proceed forward, and why, again, we are looking forward to the conversations,” said Cartwright.
The implementation of progress monitoring is not a done deal yet. State officials will work on putting together the legislation in the coming months.
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