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Get the latest coverage of the 2022 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Florida drops FSA testing in favor of shorter exams throughout the year

A man in suit stands at a podium surrounded by others, including children. A table and chair is next to them.
Bailey LeFever
WUSF Public Media
Governor Ron DeSantis said the new system, which will involve testing on computers, is fully funded and adds that it will save money over time.

Governor Ron DeSantis said the change will allow teachers and parents to check in on students before the year is over.

The pandemic has changed the importance placed on standardized testing — and how schools administer them.

Under a bill signed by Governor Ron DeSantis Tuesday, starting next school year, public school students will no longer have to take end-of-year Florida Standards Assessments, also known as FSA exams.

Instead, they'll undergo progress assessments throughout the year.

Senate Bill 1048 will change Florida's current testing system from one multi-day FSA exam a year — to three shorter tests spaced out during the school year.

Speaking at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, DeSantis said this will allow teachers and parents to check in on students before the year is over — and accurately monitor their progress along the way.

"So by eliminating FSA and transitioning to progress monitoring we are really going to help bolster the conversations between parents and teachers so that they can work together to make sure that our kids succeed."

DeSantis said the new system, which will involve testing on computers, is fully funded, adding that it will save money over time.

Florida will be the first state in the nation to fully transition its public schools to such progress monitoring.

Accountability remains important, DeSantis added, and the new testing arrangement will produce the same caliber of results.

Outgoing Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran said the new system will take pressure off students preparing for the FSA.

“What we're doing now, not only does it really leave anxiety and that pressure, but it's also done in half the time. And so now classroom instruction will proceed for another month over what we do in previous years, because we’ll be able to minimize and streamline that process."

The new progress exams will be given in the fall, winter, and spring, and will take hours to complete, instead of days, according to the state.

The fall and winter results will be given to teachers one week after testing, and to parents after two weeks, DeSantis said.

Students will still complete FSA testing this spring, with the 2022 - 2023 school year as the first under the new system.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.
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