October 22, 2023

Sue Kingery Woltanski: F.A.S.T. Has Absolutely Increased State Testing Time

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Florida implemented a bold plan to replace time-consuming high stakes testing with… more testing. Now the results are starting to roll in, and the state is in denial mode.

Yesterday, on 10/19/23, Florida’s State Board of Education approved cut scores for Florida’s new F.A.S.T. assessments. These cut scores will determine the passing levels needed to ensure high school graduation and promotion to fourth grade and will be used to calculate school and district grades. Juan Copa, FLDOE’s Deputy Commissioner, Accountability, Research, and Measurement, presented the item to the FLBOE. You can watch his presentation, beginning at 1:28:20, here.

During Copa’s presentation, Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr, who, as a senator, carried the bill (SB1048) creating this statewide progress monitoring assessment system, noted that the rollout had been incredibly smooth and the feedback from the districts was overwhelmingly positive. Then he went on to say this:

“I want to assure the members of this board, anybody who tells you that this is increasing testing is absolutely wrong, because as Juan pointed out clearly, these first two PMs are not summative tests, they’re a check that districts were doing anyway using other tools, now it’s all one statewide tool that is congruent and everybody is streamlined and can look at the same data to make those decisions for what’s best for those kids in those schools so that’s something important to keep in mind as we go forward.”

Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr, 10/18/23

Hmmm…. I recently wrote “Has F.A.S.T. Testing Lived Up to Its Promises?” where I documented that instead of the Governor’s promised 75% decrease in the amount of time spent in state testing, state mandated testing has actually increased significantly. Was Diaz referring to me? Or was he referring to the many parents who remain concerned about the amount of testing in their children’s classrooms?

Let’s look at this again:

Every year the state releases a “Uniform Statewide Assessment Calendar” template and requires districts to complete the uniform calendar with district-required assessment information. You can find the templates here.

Here were the state estimates for total testing time in 2021-2022 (the last year before F.A.S.T.):

Here are the state estimates for total testing time in 2023-2023 (with F.A.S.T.):

In 2021-22, the total estimate time for state testing was: 4,545-4,550 minutes for K-12, plus an average of 177.5 minutes for the School Day SAT/ACT.

In 2023-24, the total estimate time for state testing is: 6,580-6775 minutes for VPK-12, plus an average of 143 minutes for the School Day SAT/ACT/CLT.

With F.A.S.T. testing, the estimated time for state testing has increased by over 2,000 minutes… that is more than 33 hours of increased state testing over a student’s school career. It is definitely true that F.A.S.T. has increased the amount of time students spend on state testing.

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