Senate committee clears bill to replace Florida Standards Assessments

There is a rare consensus in the Florida Senate about a new shift in public education policy after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the Florida Standards Assessments in 2020.

Savanna Wiggins, a 10th-grader, is among the Florida students who dread the end-of-year progress monitoring system. She described the testing as “very stressful.” Kylie Twigg agrees.

“You just have all this information and then once you take the test it’s gone,” said Kylie, a 9th-grade student.

Chris Accorsini, a parent, said teachers are forced to “teach to the test.” State Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, listened to similar concerns about the way the state is gathering summative data to monitor students’ academic progress. He sponsored a bill and on Tuesday the Senate Education Committee approved it.

“In committee, I made it clear also that I think we should do a gradual movement,” Diaz said.

He wants to implement a “computer-based coordinated screening and progress monitoring program” that includes tests three times a year in the spring, fall and winter.

Diaz said it would allow for “more teaching time and real-time results instead of waiting for the end of the year” and be able to provide actionable “feedback to parents and teachers on the spot.”

It’s a measure Gov. Ron DeSantis and State Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, who chairs the education committee, both support. If the bill passes, the process would likely start during the 2022-23 school year.

The 60-day legislative session began on Tuesday.

4:30 p.m. report

There is consensus at the Florida Senate about eliminating the Florida Standards Assessments.

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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.

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