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FSA testing windows extended by 2 weeks, Florida officials announce

Changes will provide school districts with more flexibility to 'safely administer' exams
The Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA, are scheduled to begin in April.jpg
Posted at 11:45 AM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 11:46:45-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — With concerns growing among students, teachers, and parents, Florida education officials are giving school districts an extra two weeks to administer the Florida Standards Assessments, or FSA, later this spring.

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran issued an executive order on Monday which expands the following testing windows:

  • Grade 3 English Language Arts (ELA) Reading (PBT): April 5 - 30
  • Grades 4 - 10 Writing (PBT and CBT): April 5 - 30
  • Grades 4 - 6 ELA, 3 - 6 Math, Grades 5 and 8 Science (PBT): May 3 - 28
  • Grades 7 - 10 ELA/Math, EOCs (CBT): May 3 - June 11

These changes apply to both paper-based testing and computer-based testing.

The Florida Department of Education said students are required to take the FSA exams in-person, including children who are currently enrolled in distance learning.

The scores can impact things like graduation, teacher raises, school funding, and even being promoted to the next grade level.

According to the new executive order, extending the testing windows will "provide every school district with the flexibility needed to safely administer all required assessments while minimizing the impact on instructional hours."

It will also allow for "more continued social distancing during test administration."

READ EXECUTIVE ORDER:

"Districts and schools can adopt broader, more flexible testing windows, if desired," the order states.

School superintendents in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties told WPTV earlier this month that while the FSA exams should be administered to students this year, the results should not count.

"I do believe we need to do it for the data purposes. I just don't want it to count or be a negative to teachers' salaries, a negative impact on retention because that's a big deal," said Palm Beach County Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy.

"We need to test. We need to have a benchmark, but it should not be punitive in any way," said St. Lucie County Superintendent Wayne Gent.

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Concerns over statewide standardized testing amid pandemic

Due to the educational losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, Corocoran's order said "the testing that is required by state and federal law is now more critical than ever so that educators and parents can measure progress and determine what additional services and supports are needed to ensure that each student is given the services and supports they need to succeed in life."

Because the testing windows are being extended, the test results will also come in later.

The results of the Grade 3 ELA assessment will be available no later than June 30, and the results of the remaining assessments will be available no later than July 31, according to Corcoran's order.