Governor DeSantis Conducts Round Table Discussion Focused on Student Progress Monitoring
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis conducted a round table discussion at Ruckel Middle School in Niceville today with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers, Okaloosa County Teacher of the Year Jessica Landry, and two Ruckel Middle School parents, Ms. Kayra Donahoo and Ms. Catherine Card. The discussion focused on the Governor’s recently announced plan to ask the Florida Legislature to eliminate the Florida Standardized Assessment (FSA) test and implement Florida Assessment of Student Thinking, or F.A.S.T., in its place.
F.A.S.T. is a method of progress monitoring that will include three short tests each year instead of one at the end of the year giving teachers “the ability to be able to use modern tools and be able to measure progress and measure achievement, but also to be able to remediate where we may not be doing as well” explained DeSantis. Teachers can tailor the instruction provided to each individual student and their needs.
“We’ve been doing progress monitoring in Okaloosa County for years” noted, Chambers. “We currently use iReady which gives us specific data on each student’s mastery of the state standards they are required to learn. Teachers use this data to develop a roadmap for each student to improve during the school year.” Teacher of the Year Jessica Landry added, “we’re going to be able to show our students their own progress in the Governor’s plan, and they’re going to associate their efforts they’re putting forth as achievement, so I think that will boost up their self-esteem and make them feel more confident with their learning”. Superintendent Chambers reiterated that “whether the student is struggling or the student is high-achieving, the goal is to make sure that every student has the ability to have at least a year’s worth of growth.”
This data analysis and remediation or acceleration opportunity is not possible with FSA testing, as the testing is not conducted until the end of the school year and results are not received until the school year is over. This prevents remediation in areas of need, sending a student to the next course having not mastered necessary standards to set a baseline of education for the next subject.
Commissioner Corcoran explained that “we can be smarter, faster, more efficient in getting exactly what we need in accountability but doing so with 75% less time.” The FSA takes students out of their classes for up to two days per test whereas F.A.S.T. can be administered in a fraction of that time, not affecting a student’s other courses.
The Florida Legislature must craft new legislation for the Governor’s plan to be implemented. If they do so, the current school year would be the last in which the FSA is administered. 2022-2023 would be the first year that F.A.S.T. is implemented and it will be used to establish a baseline for accountability. The following year, 2023-2024, the state would begin using the data collected for accountability, measuring growth, and helping schools determine their effectiveness.