What They Are Saying: Governor DeSantis Announces End of the High-Stakes FSA Testing to Become the First State in the Nation to Fully Transition to Progress Monitoring

CLEARWATER, Fla. – This week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a legislative proposal that will eliminate the common-core based, end-of-year, high-stakes Florida Statewide Assessment and create the new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T.) plan, which will monitor student progress and foster individual growth. Educators, parents, education organizations and leaders from across the state applauded the announcement.

 

Here is what they are saying: 

 

“As a teacher, I am thrilled about this announcement and the change happening with assessments in Florida,” said Krista Stanley, 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year. “Progress monitoring is essential for students and educators. Teachers will have the opportunity to immediately adjust their instruction to meet the needs of Florida’s students. This is the change our students deserve!”

 

“Learning is not something that happens at a set point in time; it occurs through a sequence of interactions, communication, and exploration with the instructional content,” said Dr. Dakeyan Graham, 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year. “Having opportunities to monitor progress and employ interventions and scaffolds that can be continuously adjusted and tailored to the specific needs of each is what an equitable educational experience is all about! Students deserve the opportunity to pursue the best version of themselves, and that happens through the journey, not just at the destination. I am excited to see the development of a system of accountability that postures the standards while equipping educators as they continuously monitor and apply supports to their developing world changers, instead of one that serves as a singularity in identifying whether or not achievement has occurred.”

 

“As a teacher it is not only necessary, but paramount that I be able to track my students’ academic progress and growth across the entire school year,” said Joy Prescott, 2019 Florida Teacher of the Year. “Having a progress monitoring tool that aligns to the standards will be instrumental in helping me and other teachers across Florida become more effective in the classroom. Through intentional planning using data this tool will provide, we will be able to make calculated decisions about what type of instruction will work best for our students. I would like to thank the Florida Department of Education for helping children learn and teachers teach!”

 

“As a product of the Florida school system, I benefited from Florida’s strong accountability model that was implemented when I was a student in the 1990s,” said Christie Bassett, 2015 Florida Teacher of the Year. “As an educator, I utilize assessments to inform instruction and tailor content to each student’s academic needs. Florida’s continued progression of instructional measures and focus on student-centered outcomes is an exciting step as we work together towards an even brighter Sunshine State.”

 

“Students in Florida classrooms today will be our world changers, problem solvers, and leaders of tomorrow,” said Megan Crombie, 2020 Florida State University Schools District Teacher of the Year and Florida Teacher of the Year Finalist. “They deserve the best education possible to compete and contribute on a global level. Part of a strong education system is meaningful assessments and accountability for educators. It is time to reexamine our accountability system and our purposes for assessing students. Student instructional needs should drive our decision-making processes, and this can only occur with a relevant progress monitoring system in place at the school level.  As a teacher and a parent, I am excited about the advancements in store for our state and I look forward to an accountability system that will put students first.”

 

“A statewide progress monitoring tool is EXACTLY what we need right now,” said Sarah Painter, 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year. “With the transition to the B.E.S.T. standards, the window of opportunity to close the achievement gap is at hand. This tool will allow us to make instructional decisions in real-time rather than collecting data as a culminating task. The accountability this will give to both teachers and students to help inform instruction is of upmost importance for student success.”

 

“Florida continues to innovate by implementing a new progress monitoring system that is aligned with the B.E.S.T. standards,” said Carrie Wilson, 2021 Hamilton County District Teacher of the Year. “I am excited that teachers, students, and parents will be able to frequently evaluate student learning with an understandable measurement system. Teachers will be able to monitor the effectiveness of their instruction and make changes,  if necessary, to improve academic progress.  I believe with the development of this new system by Florida experts, Florida will continue to lead the way with high quality education making us the most literate state in the nation.”

 

“Eliminating the FSA is a monumental push forward for educators and students,” said Sarah Hall, 2020 Seminole County District Teacher of the Year. “The progress monitoring snapshots will allow teachers to dig deep and evaluate how students are performing throughout the school year. This will drive our instruction as we provide differentiated, targeted interventions with explicit and systematic instruction and meaningful enrichment for every child. This means zero surprises for caregivers, clear and precise projections for student achievement, and rich learning experiences based on precise data. Well done Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran! Thank you for your innovative approach to student assessment, which I believe will lead to greater student success. I’m proud to be an educator in the great state of Florida!”

 

“I’d like to thank Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran for taking the time to not only seek input from Florida educators, but to actually listen and act upon those recommendations,” said Lindsay Burghart, 2021 Clay County Teacher of the Year. “It is imperative the standards educators teach to students are directly tied to the final assessment. Not only is it simple common sense, it’s the only way we can truly have valid data that can be used to determine each student’s true level of mastery. This plan will provide educators with useful data that allows them to strategically plan each lesson to meet the needs of individual students before they fall behind, and allows us to find ways to challenge students already exceeding grade level expectations.”

 

“Thank you, Governor DeSantis for your bold vision to eliminate Common Core,” said Sandra Himmel, Citrus County School District Superintendent. “A coordinated progress monitoring system that provides data to teachers and families throughout the year will help improve learning in our schools.”

 

“Fewer, better state assessments with greater reliance on ongoing, real-time progress monitoring data enable timely academic recalibration opportunities that are right for Florida’s kids,” said Alberto Carvalho, Miami-Dade County Superintendent, the nation’s fourth largest public school district. “We applaud today’s announcement by Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran.”

 

“Progress monitoring is a tried and true tool that has been effectively used in our classrooms for years with great success,” said Mike Grego, Pinellas County School District Superintendent. “I’d like to thank Governor DeSantis for his vision to streamline and enhance Florida’s accountability system in a way that will benefit students, parents and teachers in a meaningful way.”

 

“By moving away from the Florida Standards Assessment and implementing a progress monitoring system that will guide and inform instruction we are creating an accountability system that is student centered and will provide an education that meets the needs of all students, while ensuring a system of excellence,” said Angie Gallo, School Board Member, Orange County Public Schools. “By eliminating common core and implementing the Florida B.E.S.T. standards we are going back to the basics, with an intentional focus on American Civics. The B.E.S.T. standards have embedded high expectations to ensure that every student has a successful future.”

 

“Governor Ron DeSantis decision to end the Florida Standards Assessment in favor of a periodic progress monitoring system will provide meaningful improvements in student learning across our state,” said Bob Ward, Florida Council of 100 Chief Executive Officer. “This move will help close Florida’s rigor gap by providing parents and teachers a stronger sense of student comprehension and learning throughout the school year. By offering three smaller assessments throughout the year, Governor DeSantis is empowering our schools to further tailor instruction based on a student’s learning needs.”

 

“The Governor and Commissioner’s new academic plan offers a positive new direction,” said Fernando Zulueta, President of Academica. “It gives Florida’s families and educators the information they need at the right time.  It eliminates the dreaded once-a-year high-stakes test.  I have two daughters and a son in public charter schools and welcome this improvement to our academic accountability system.”

 

“As educators, we know now, more than ever, we need to personalize the educational experience for each child and formatively assess where they are and what they need on a regular basis rather than wait on end-of-year assessments,” said Jon Hage, President and CEO of Charter Schools USA. “We strongly support the FDOE’s bold move to improve each student’s individual learning which aligns with charter schools’ goals to continually innovate and improve. We are proud of the role some of the schools managed by Charter Schools USA played in this trial over the past year and are excited to see the success of our students as a result.  As we continue to move away from common core and excessive high stakes testing, we will begin to see student achievement that reflects what they are truly learning in the classroom allowing earlier intervention and ultimately better results. The FDOE has truly put students first in this decision.”

 

“Governor DeSantis is leading Florida forward with prudent, data-driven education policies to help ensure a bright future for every Florida student,” said Jimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Officer. “A strong public education system is vital to our state’s overall economic success and Florida is better when our students, parents and teachers are put in the best position to help our children excel in the classroom. Innovations like this are why families are moving to Florida by the hundreds every day from states like New York. Thank you to Governor DeSantis for his commitment to the success of Florida students.”

 

“As an educator myself, I know how effective and accurate progress monitoring systems are,” said State Senator Manny Diaz. “They have been used in our classrooms for years. Students, teachers and parents know that it is an effective tool to help children grow academically. I appreciate the commitment that Governor DeSantis and Commissioner Corcoran have shown to improving our education system in Florida, and this is another innovative and thoughtful plan.”

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