INDIANTOWN, Fla. — Monday marks the beginning of the end for the Florida Standards Assessments, as this is the last time teachers will administer the controversial exams to students.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida will become the first state in the country to fully transition to a progress monitoring system for student accountability next school year.
The Warfield Elementary Warriors in Indiantown are ready to tackle the FSA one final time.
With cheers, signs, and encouraging words, the students pumped each other up during a pep rally Monday morning.
"How cool was that? Amazing," said third-grade teacher Heather Hoffman. "Because we believe in ourselves and they believe in us."
Hoffman is preparing her students academically and mentally for this week's reading testing.
"I know a lot of people think about it as being a nervous moment, but we've taken a lot of time this year to really learn about how this is not just a number on a paper on a test. This is exciting. It's not scary," Hoffman said.
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The FSA has long been criticized for their high stakes, creating a stressful environment at the end of the year.
But next school year, educators hope some of the pressure will ease with the transition to state progress monitoring.
"Students in general in grades, starting in Pre-K, actually will have three assessments during the year," said Dr. Tracey Miller, the assistant superintendent of academics for the Martin County School District. "Kind of a beginning of the year assessment in the first 30 days, a mid-year assessment, and end of the year assessment in the last 30 days."
DeSantis on March 15 signed SB 1048 — formally called the "Student Assessments" bill — into law, which eliminates the FSA after this school year and replaces them with a progress monitoring system starting in the 2022/23 academic year.
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"We'll be assessing where students are when they come to us in pre-kindergarten moving all the way through up until high school, making sure students are ready and reaching benchmarks and milestones all the way along so that we can ensure an on-time graduation for all of our students," Miller said.
While the actual number of state tests will increase, Miller said families will get results much faster — within weeks — and it will better show where students may be struggling.
"Really help students master the skills they need at every level and not wait for those as we refer to them as high stakes assessments in third grade or for high school graduation," Miller said.
So as Hoffman gets her students ready to show what they know, she said she doesn't expect her style to change much next year, just the way they assess what students have learned.
"If a lot of focus is put on teaching kids how to have that positive growth mindset and to believe in their abilities and believe in themselves, it shouldn't really matter what type of test it is," Hoffman said.
The FSA testing window will run for the next two weeks for reading and writing, then will begin again in May for more reading, math, and science exams. To see the complete FSA testing schedule, click here.
The Martin County School District released this video to explain the progress monitoring system that will take effect during the 2022/23 academic year.