Skip to main content

An introduction to Florida Standards Assessments

TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016 10:07 AM

According to StateImpact, as of 2015, Florida students no longer take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Instead, anyone in third through 10th grade will take the Florida Standards Assessment, which is based off Common Core standards.

What is the FSA?
The FSA is a set of math, reading and writing tests that measure what students have learned at the end of a grade. The tests include some multiple choice questions and some multimedia activities. For example, middle schoolers taking a science test may listen to a podcast and then answer questions about what they've heard. Math and reading questions may require students to perform tasks instead of simply writing a quick essay or coloring in a circle to indicate their answers. 

Why is the FSA important? 
In alignment with the Common Core, the goal of the FSA is to prepare students for post-secondary education and their future professional careers. Assessing each student after every grade allows educators to gain insight into what subjects should receive more attention. The FSA portal noted that test scores also indicate whether teachers succeed in their instructional methods and if leadership and stakeholders' goals are met.

Another factor to note is that the testing has changed to fit with teaching as educators use more interactive assignments and sources like websites, videos and podcasts. These adjustments also reflect the importance of technology and that students must understand how to use various programs and devices to succeed in school and their careers.

How can you help your children prepare?
Much of your kids' in-class work will ready them for the FSA. Ensure your children complete their daily homework assignments and projects as well as study for tests. FSA scores do not affect grades, but your children's report cards should be an indication of how well they will do on the end-of-year FSA exams. If you think your kids are not living up to their potential, consider providing tutors to assist in any subject matter that is difficult for your children.

To give them some extra help, have your kids try a few practice tests. Going through the motions of reading questions and answering in the format as the real test may help alleviate exam anxiety and improve your children's grades when it comes time to take the actual assessment.