FSA Testing Gets Replaced With F.A.S.T.



Governor Ron DeSantis is leading a press conference in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 15, 2022. The Governor discusses replacing the FSA with F.A.S.T.

Arielle Adelman, Editor

In a packed press conference at a St. Petersburg high school, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a new high stakes test, that replaces the loathed FSA stating: “Today we come not to praise the FSA, but bury it.” But, high-stakes testing isn’t gone and buried, resurrected in its place is F.A.S.T. 

The F.A.S.T. will be a series of three smaller, but more difficult tests. The bill says the test will be administered two weeks after fall, winter, and spring break.

According to Ron DeSantis, the idea to replace the test came after students and parents complained about wanting their test feedback sooner. Instead of receiving their scores in the summer, they will receive their scores only a few weeks after the test. 

For one student, the F.A.S.T. came as a surprise. Nyah Pace is a sophomore at South Broward High School.

“I feel as if students like me are barely informed when it comes to testing. For example, I didn’t know about progress-based monitoring,” said Pace.

Pace describes the stress brought on by the FSA each year.

“FSA testing stressed me out the majority of my years throughout school because I always felt as if I was being judged as a person based on my scores,” said Pace.

Although the tests are smaller, there are more of them. The goal of progress-based monitoring is to reduce stress and allow students and teachers to see where improvements need to be made.

When progress-based monitoring was explained to her, Pace said she could see the benefit. 

Other students have a different view on progress-based monitoring. Noah Alejo is another sophomore at South Broward High School. He thinks the F.A.S.T. will be more stressful than the FSA.

“FSA testing is less stressful because you can get everything done at once. Progress-based monitoring would make students have to sit down and test every quarter,” said Alejo. 

The F.A.S.T. has mixed reviews from officials in Tallahassee. The President of the Florida Education Association, Andrew Spar, hated the idea of F.A.S.T, pointing out that it would increase testing, not reduce it. 

“The bill does not focus on student learning or on providing teachers time to monitor and assess children’s progress,” Spar tweeted out on March 15.

Spar also said testing would require more time taken out of the school day to take the test. However, the governor believes the test will be beneficial to students and the state.

Next year, Florida will become the first state in the nation to do a full transition to progress monitoring to inform school accountability,” said DeSantis. 

Ashley Lehman is in charge of testing at SBHS. She supports the elimination of the FSA, but fears new tests might bring on some more work for students and staff.

“I don’t like that the FSA, like all high-stakes testing, [it] causes anxiety for our students and staff,” said Lehman. 

Like the FSA, the F.A.S.T. will be administered to grades 3-10. Lehman’s duties as test coordinator include organizing testing schedules and locations, and providing proctors with materials. 

“Most likely, this is going to be a lot more work on my behalf as well as students and staff,” said Lehman.