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Gov. DeSantis announces plan to end Florida Standards Assessments

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran joined governor during announcement in South Florida

DORAL, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday made a “major announcement” at a school in Doral about his plans to end the Florida Standards Assessments, also known as FSA, testing for students across the state.

The FSA is designed to measure “education gains and progress” in Florida students in the subjects of English language arts and mathematics, according to the Florida Department of Education website.

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“We believe that having results monitored and measured is very, very important, but we also think that the FSA is outmoded at this point,” DeSantis said.

The governor said he plans to replace the FSA with progress monitoring in which teachers will be able to administer short tests to students to see where they may not be meeting certain scholastic standards.

“I think it’ll be something that’s very friendly to parents. I think it’ll be something that the teachers will appreciate because they’ll be able to make adjustments and really focus on the unique needs of each individual student,” DeSantis said.

The news conference was held at Doral Academy Preparatory School, which is already using progress monitoring to measure the scholastic achievement of students. DeSantis is speaking again in Clearwater at 1 p.m. at High Point Elementary School where he is expected to talk more about the proposal.

DeSantis was joined by Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

“One of the silver linings of COVID was when we shut down the schools (in 2020) and we got rid of the FSA for the remainder of the school year — because that’s what we did — what we noticed by looking at the progress monitoring, something that’s done in every single school district, we looked at the progress monitoring data because that’s what we still had and what we noticed was, as the governor said, that the FSA is kind of antiquated,” Corcoran said. “With algorithms and where we are with computer technology, we can take that progress monitoring data and have the exact same accountability system.”

The governor’s proposal still needs to go through the legislative process before it can take effect. If it is passed during the next legislative session, the 2021-2022 school year will be the last year for the FSA.

During the 2022-2023 school year, the state will not issue grades for schools, which is done based on student achievement under the FSA, allowing that year to serve as a baseline for the next year. However, the grading system would return in the next school year with the grades based on the progress monitoring data. Again, this is if the proposal passes through the state legislature.

The Florida Education Association, which represents multiple teachers’ unions across the state, issued a statement in favor of the governor’s plan to end the FSA.

“Today’s move to drop high-stakes Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) testing in the 2022-2023 school year is a big win for our students and public schools. It will free up time for genuine teaching and learning, a move that the Florida Education Association, local unions and our 150,000 members have long advocated,” the statement reads.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.