Gov. DeSantis signs bill that eliminates FSA in public schools, but state teachers union not happy

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that is ending the Florida Standards Assessments and replacing the standardized exams with a “progress monitoring system” that would test students three times a year.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that is ending the Florida Standards Assessments and replacing the standardized exams with a “progress monitoring system” that would test students three times a year.

The bill, SB 1048, makes it so students will be required to take progress-monitoring tests at the beginning, middle and end of each school year.

“Six months ago, I announced a legislative proposal to replace the FSA with progress monitoring, instead of having one major test at the very end of the year, which provided no feedback to students before the summer came, we would do progress monitoring that would monitor progress throughout the school year, it’d be shorter, it would be more individualized and it would provide good feedback for students, for teachers and for parents,” DeSantis said during a news conference in St. Petersburg. “We think this is going to be an improvement in the state of Florida.”

The final tests of the year would be used for accountability purposes to determine such things as graduation for high-school students and school grades.

Progress-monitoring tests in English-language arts will be administered to students in grades 3 through 10 three times a year. Math assessments for grades 3 through 8 will be given to students on the same schedule.

Kyle Green has two children that will be impacted by this change, but he thinks it’ll be beneficial. He said his oldest daughter had to take the FSAs this past year.

“I think that it’s something that should’ve been done a while ago, honestly,” Green said.

Following the signing of the bill, the state’s largest teachers union said educators and parents had high hopes when Gov. DeSantis announced in September that Florida would end its system of high-stakes testing for students, but added that the bill signed into law Tuesday fails to meet those expectations.

The Florida Education Association said the bill does not reduce the amount of standardized testing that students take and it doesn’t eliminate the big make-or-break test at the end of year.

“When the governor said he was reducing testing, teachers and parents saw a real opportunity to fix what’s wrong with how Florida assesses students. We imagined better outcomes for kids,” said Florida Education Association (FEA) President Andrew Spar. “This bill does not reduce testing but increases it. The bill does not focus on student learning or on providing teachers time to monitor and assess children’s progress. In fact, it probably will add more work for already overwhelmed teachers. Most basically, the bill fails students.”

Alex Ingram, a teacher at Sandalwood High School, told News4JAX that he supports doing away with standardized testing.

“This is a bill that no one asked for,” Ingram said. “Teachers were not asking for it. Parents were not asking for it. Students were not asking for it.”

As signed, SB 1048 increases the number of statewide assessments administered to students and shifts all current testing that is done with paper and pencil to computer-based testing, according to FEA.

FEA said it has called for lawmakers to:

  • Remove the high stakes attached to standardized tests.
  • Reduce standardized testing and the time spent preparing for and administering tests.
  • Assess student learning through a system of progress monitoring designed to foster student success and growth.
  • Provide more time for genuine teaching and learning.

About the Authors:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.