- Florida’s newly-implemented progress monitoring system is already yielding positive results, according to the state Board of Education
- Several key subject areas show improved scores under the new assessment process, though all remain below a 50 percent satisfactory rate
- Florida became the first state in the country to utilize progress monitoring in place of standardized testing this year
The Florida Board of Education convened on Wednesday for the first time this calendar year where it commented on recent findings and trends they see in students statewide. Among them, according to Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr., is an uptick in students attaining satisfactory scores in subject area assessments since the administering of student progress monitoring began in place of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) this year.
Per Diaz, preliminary results for the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) system are yielding positive results, with increased rates of satisfactory scores in reading and math across the first testing period to the second.
In grades 3 through 8 for mathematics, 31 percent of students are performing at or above grade level, marking a sharp increase from the 14 percent figure reported at the beginning of the school year.
In Pre-K through 2nd-grade reading, 36 percent of students are meeting or exceeding expectations, an increase of 16 points compared to the start of the year.
Furthermore, during the first set of testing, 33 percent of students in grades 3 through 10 performed at or above grade level in English-language arts exams. Students who completed the second test earned a 38 percent passage rate.
“The vision of this tool is for us to have the proper data and get it to our teachers, get it to our parents, and continue to provide interventions, accelerations, whatever is best for each student,” said Diaz.” And it is doing exactly that.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1048 into law last March, officially marking the end of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). The test’s elimination began this current academic school year, replacing it with progress monitoring through FAST.
FSA testing drew repeated criticism after complaints that classroom curriculum oftentimes shifted to focus on passing the end-of-year tests rather than comprehensively teaching necessary material.
The move was widely celebrated by teachers, students, and parents alike, with hopes that FAST can work more efficiently within the current educational framework.
Conducted three times per academic year, the first two progress monitoring evaluations are to be utilized for “informational purposes” during the school year, while final evaluations are used for state and federal accountability metrics.
The first series of tests took place between August and October, while the second phase is currently in progress.
As of this week, approximately 75 percent of students have finished their second round of testing.