- Progress monitoring assessments in Florida schools showed increases in testing scores for various student subgroups, including African American and Hispanic students.
- African American students saw substantial improvements in Grades 3-8 Mathematics (34 percentage points) and Grades 3-10 English Language Arts (16 percentage points), among other subjects.
- Hispanic students recorded notable increases in Grades 3-8 Mathematics (42 percentage points) and Grades 3-10 English Language Arts (17 percentage points), as well as other subjects.
- Broadly speaking, progress monitoring assessments in Grades 3-10 English Language Arts and Mathematics showed significant performance growth throughout the school year
The Florida Department of Education disclosed initial findings based on its year-one implementation of progress monitoring, the state’s alternative to standardized testing in public schools.
Progress monitoring assessments showed jumps across various student subgroups, with African American students seeing increases in Grades 3-8 Mathematics (34 percentage points), grades 3-10 English Language Arts (ELA) (16 percentage points), Grade 5 Science (5 percentage points), and Biology 1 (3 percentage points), according to state data.
Similarly, Hispanic students showed improvements in Grades 3-8 Mathematics (42 percentage points), Grades 3-10 ELA (17 percentage points), Grade 5 Science (2 percentage points), and Biology 1 (3 percentage points).
Broken down socioeconomically, students from financially disadvantaged families saw surges in Grades 3-8 Mathematics (39 percentage points), Grades 3-10 ELA (16 percentage points), Grade 5 Science (4 percentage points), and Biology 1 (3 percentage points).
“The significant gains made by our students this school year prove that progress monitoring is a success,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Florida’s teachers were provided immediate feedback following each FAST administration and used that feedback to guide future instruction. I look forward to working with educators to build on these results as we establish a true annual comparison beginning next year.”
Broadly speaking, progress monitoring assessments in Grades 3-10 ELA and Mathematics showed performance growth throughout the school year in the number of students performing on grade level.
In addition to the progress monitoring assessments, the Florida Department of Education released results for its Science assessment, Biology, Civics, and U.S. History statewide assessments. The Civics assessment had the highest percentage — two-thirds — of students performing at or above proficiency.
The U.S. History assessment continued to be among the top-performing statewide assessments, with 62 percent of students scoring at or above minimum proficiency. The 2023 Statewide Science Assessments indicated a 3-percentage-point increase in 5th Grade Science performance and a similar increase in the Biology statewide assessment compared to the previous year.
Progress monitoring — implemented when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1048 into law last March, officially marking the end of the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) — was quickly deemed successful when state education officials noted an uptick in students attaining satisfactory scores in subject area assessments.
Per Diaz, preliminary results for the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) system yielded positive results, with increased rates of satisfactory scores in reading and math across the first testing period to the second.
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 and third phases were administered throughout the remainder of the academic year.