Ron DeSantis Announces He’s Tossing Out The FSA

( )- This past week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called for an end to the state’s Standardized Assessments testing program (FSA).

Referring to the plan as one of his top priorities for the upcoming 2022 legislative session, Governor DeSantis told reporters in Doral, Florida that the FSA is “quite frankly, outdated.” The Governor’s office framed it as “the final step to end Common Core in Florida.”

So popular is the Governor’s decision to put an end to FSA, even the Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union who routinely clashes with the firebrand governor, offered its full-throated support, tweeting “Goodbye FSA.”

In place of the FSA, new progress tests, known as the Florida Assessments of Student Thinking (FAST) will be introduced. These progress tests would be customizable to each student, take a quarter of the time, and relay information back to teachers and parents in a matter of hours. Rather than one end-of-year assessment, there would be three progress monitoring periods throughout the school year.

In other words, rather than having to wait until summer break to know how a student is doing, the data would measure each student’s progress throughout the course of the school year.

The Florida Education Association likes the plan because progress monitoring would free up time for teaching – something the union’s 150,000 members have long advocated.

Governor DeSantis said that if lawmakers approve the change, this current school year (2021/22) will be the last time the FSA will be administered.

Calling the FSA “antiquated,” Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that the current standardized testing system was like an autopsy conducted at the end of a school year with data coming back in time to be used the following school year. The proposed FAST progress monitoring, on the other hand, is more of an ongoing “diagnostic system” allowing for more immediate and proactive responses.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho also expressed support for the Governor’s plan, touting the FAST system as providing “ongoing, real-time progress monitoring” which would allow for “timely academic recalibration.”

Legislative committee meetings for the 2022 Session begin Monday September 20. The 2022 Legislative Session begins on January 11. And lawmakers are wasting no time drawing up the bill. On Tuesday, the Senate Education Committee will begin discussions on replacing FSA with FAST.