New state-mandated testing begins later this month

Press release from Alachua County Public Schools

Florida’s public school students will begin taking a new state test later this month as part of a “progress monitoring” system approved by the 2022 Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.

According to the Florida Department of Education, the goal of the new FAST (Florida Assessment of Student Thinking) system is to provide parents and educators with more timely information about each student’s progress during the school year and to guide instruction to better meet students’ needs.

The FAST system is aligned to the state’s new Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T) standards.

Under the new assessment system, most students must be tested in reading (Voluntary PreK through 10th grade) and math (Voluntary PreK through 8th grade) three times each school year. For at least the first two testing sessions, all tests will be given on a computer.

The first set of tests must be given statewide on or before September 30. The testing window for Alachua County Public Schools will begin August 22, but schools will set their own testing schedules within the window. Schools will be notifying families about their specific testing schedule.

Under the state law authorizing the FAST system, parents must be provided with their child’s test results within two weeks of the testing date. The state is currently working on a ‘Family Portal’ that will allow families to see their child’s test results, but that portal will not be available until October. In the meantime, districts must develop plans for sharing test results with parents within the mandated two-week time frame.

More information about the FAST program, including future testing windows and links to sample questions from the state, is available at https://www.sbac.edu/FAST.