Desantis Proposes Changes To Standardized Testing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that he will ask the Legislature to drop the current annual standardized testing in public schools and replace it with assessments taken throughout the year to better gauge individual student progress.

The Florida Standards Assessment are given at the end of each school year to assess students' gains in English, math and other subjects. The Department of Education website says the tests “help Florida students succeed” and “serve Florida students by measuring education gains and progress.”

But DeSantis said the system has flaws, including identifying students' weaknesses at the end of the year, instead of being able to help them during the current school year.

“We need to measure results, we will continue to do it. We will continue to set high standards, but we also have to recognize that it is the year 2021 and the FSA is, quite frankly, outdated,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Miami-Dade County.

He also said the existing test comes too late to adjust instruction plans if needed during the school year. “You take a major test at the end of the year, you get the results at the end of the school year. You can't go back and fix that,” the governor said.

DeSantis said he wants to replace the current testing with what he called “progress monitoring," which he said will be short, individualized check-in assessments in fall, winter and spring that will take hours and not days to administer.

“There will be 75% less time for testing, which will mean more time for learning. It also informs teachers in real time during the school year so you can make the necessary corrections,” DeSantis said.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said that schools basically shut down in April and May to prepare for the standardized tests.

“We always say the FSA is an autopsy. We basically wait at the end of the year, we have this autopsy and we don't even gather the data until the end of the year,” Corcoran said.