FAST testing provides hopes for future years

Florida lawmakers approved a bill proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis in March stating that all public school students in the state are required to take “progress monitoring tests” for years to come. The new testing system, called the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST), replaced the Florida Standard Assessments (FSA).

In the opinion of the Portfolio staff, the introduction of this new testing method will decrease student stress.

Transitioning to a new testing system can be an inconvenience to students and teachers. Teachers all over Florida are required to relearn the software used with the FAST tests and change the way they have been instructing lessons for many years. Students need to navigate an unfamiliar testing site to take their assessments.
However, we believe this change will better the students overall because of the progress-monitoring technology, the use of three tests spaced throughout the year and the shorter test times.

FAST testing will use three tests at the beginning, middle and end of each school year to gather information on what students know. The purpose of this method, rather than seeing how well students can answer questions, is to see if improvement occurs over the school year.

According to “The Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) Fact Sheet,” scores are given to teachers to see how each student grew over the school year. This gives students multiple chances to do their best.

Others may say that since FAST testing has three tests over the school year, stress will actually increase. However, according to the Florida Department of Education, the new system will result in less testing time throughout the year. This will result in kids not worrying as much as some had in the past.

According to NPR News, the FSA Reading test for grades 6-8 lasted 170 minutes. According to “2022–23 Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) Fact Sheet Grades 3–10 ELA Reading and Grades 3–8 Mathematics,” the grades 3-10 reading FAST assessment will last 90 minutes for the first and second tests, and 120 minutes for the final test. We hope this shortens testing time, but we do not know for sure.

Due to this, we believe that students will benefit from the new testing system.