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FSA Transition to FAST

On March 15, Gov. DeSantis’ signed SB 1048 into law. This overhaul of standardized testing falls far short of what Gov. DeSantis promised before the start of the legislative session. There are a lot more specifics below, but the bottom line is this: the law does not reduce testing, nor does it eliminate the big end of year test.

Because this bill deals with progress monitoring from Prekindergarten through tenth grade, it requires even four-year old children to sit in front of a computer and take a statewide, standardized test. This is not what DeSantis promised, and most importantly it is not what is best for Florida’s students.

Specific Changes to Testing

Click on the bold headings below to find how each grade level and subject area is slated to be impacted by SB 1048.

  • No changes from current law to the content of the test.
  • No statewide progress monitoring assessments at this time.
  • A passing score represents grade-level performance. The Florida State Board of Education will have to engage in rulemaking on this. 
  • No changes from current law to the content of the test.
  • No statewide progress monitoring assessments at this time
  • A passing score represents grade-level performance. The Florida State Board of Education will have to engage in rulemaking on this. 
  • By Jan. 31, 2025, the commissioner of education shall provide recommendations on additional ways to streamline testing. These recommendations must include an analysis of the correlation between the two progress monitoring tests and the end-of-the-year assessment to determine if the results from the progress monitoring assessments can be used in lieu of the end-of-the-year assessment. (Page 33-34, lines 933-966)
  • School and district grades in the 2022-23 school year will serve as an “informational baseline.” (Page 32, lines 914-915)
  • During the baseline year of 2022-23, baseline grades must be set so that the same percentage of schools receive a grade of A, B, C, D, and F as they did during the 2021-22 school year. (Page 32, lines 915-918)
  • When learning gains data becomes available in the 2023-24 school year, the State Board of Education will determine if the school grading scale needs to be adjusted. (Page 32, lines 919-922)
  • No school will be required to implement a turnaround option in the 2023-24 school year based on the school’s 2022-23 school grade. (Page 32, lines 923-925)
  • A school that is in turnaround and receives a grade of C or higher during the 2022-23 school year can be released from turnaround status. (Pages 32-33, lines 925-931)
  • A school that receives the same or lower school grade in 2022-23 compared to 2021-22 is not subject to sanctions or penalties that would otherwise result.
  • A 3rd grade student who does not pass the 3rd grade ELA end of the year assessment in 2022-23 may be promoted to 4th grade if there is a good cause exemption under current law or other means reasonably calculated to provide reliable evidence of student performance. (Page 33, lines 941-947)
  • Alternative schools will not receive a school improvement rating for the 2022-23 school year. When learning gains results are available for the 2023-24 school year, the State Board of Education will set the scale for commendable, maintaining and unsatisfactory ratings. (Pages 33-34, lines 954-959)

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: Have any of the high-stakes consequences associated with testing been removed as a result of SB 1048?

A: No. All of the high-stakes nature of testing will remain in effect, including third grade retention, high school graduation, teacher pay and school grades.

Q: Currently, students in grades 3-10 (ELA) and grades 3-8 (math) take one statewide assessment. How many statewide assessments will those students take as a result of SB 1048?

A: Three statewide assessments each in grades 3-10 ELA and grade 3-8 math for a total of six statewide assessments in those subjects. That is in addition to the current statewide assessments in science (grades 5 and 8), Algebra I, Geometry, Biology, United States History and Civics.

Q: Well, that doesn’t sound like a reduction in testing. But at least the tests will be shorter. How long will each student spend testing?

A: That currently is unknown. SB 1048 was silent on the length of tests. However, the law is clear that the end-of-year test is “comprehensive.” So, there is no reason to believe it will be shorter than the current end-of-year test.

Q: Wait — you’re telling me the law increases the number of statewide standardized tests and it does not make any provision for reducing the length of tests?

A: Correct. Once the bill becomes law (July 1, 2022), the Department of Education will initiate new assessment systems. But there is absolutely no guarantee that what they implement will result in reduced testing time. In fact, there is every reason to believe students will spend more time testing next school year.

Q: But, we do get students’ test results back more quickly now, right? At least that made it into law?

A: Not really. For the start-of-the-year and midyear progress monitoring tests, results will be returned to teachers “within one week.” So, that is likely longer than it takes for teachers to get progress monitoring results back using the current system.

When it comes to the big end-of-year comprehensive test, results still will not be returned until after the end of the school year.

Q: So, what has changed?

A: The name of the test. It will now be called Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST).

Q: That’s it? Just the same test with a new name?

A: Not just a new name. Remember there will also be more testing — there will be a FAST at the beginning of the year, a midyear FAST and an end-of-year comprehensive FAST.

Q: What can I do about this?

A: Vote in August and November! But, democracy requires much more than voting. Regardless of the outcome of elections, it important to stay involved all year long so that your locally elected officials know teachers want there to be more joy and less testing in their classrooms. Talk to your local union president about how to stay involved and informed all year-round. It’s never too soon to think about advocating for less testing during the 2023 legislative session.

Click here for a PDF of the Frequently Asked Questions.

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