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Gov. Ron DeSantis holds education roundtable to promote switch from FSA testing to progress monitoring

Teacher of the year, education commissioner share opinion on new proposed method

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NICEVILLE, Fla. – Days after Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his hopes of ending Florida Standards Assessments, he held a roundtable with education officials to discuss the benefits of switching to a new method of tracking students’ progress.

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During the roundtable in Niceville on Monday, which was held at C.W. Ruckel Middle School, the governor said switching to progress monitoring could reduce the amount of time that’s dedicated to testing by 75%.

He said it will also give instructors the opportunity to customize learning, whereas taking the FSAs at the end of the year leaves no time to correct instruction for students who appeared to be falling behind based on their test results.

Jessica Landry, who was named Okaloosa County Teacher of the Year, said progress monitoring gives teachers the chance to meet students where they are educationally.

She said it also has the potential to boost students’ self-esteem and make them more confident in the classroom.

Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said if Florida makes the switch to progress monitoring, he believes the state will climb in the nationwide education rankings.

DeSantis announced at a school in Doral last week 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.

“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 last week.

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.

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.