State Standards and Testing
All Florida districts are operating under Florida’s statewide academic standards. These include the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) for English Language Arts and Math. According to the Florida Department of Education (DOE), the standards pave “the way for Florida students to receive a world-class education to prepare them for jobs of the future.”
The state has developed and implemented more rigorous progress monitoring tests aligned with the statewide academic standards. The tests are called Florida Assessments of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T.). These tests are administered three times per year and cover English language arts (ELA) in grades PreK-10 and math in grades K-8. Students in grades 4-10 will also take writing tests at the end of the year. The Statewide Science Assessment (SSA) will be given in science in grades 5 and 8 also in May.
End of course (EOC) exams will also be given in math, science and social studies at the middle and high school levels. Which tests students will take depends on their grade level and when they take the course covered by the EOC exam. In some cases a passing score is required for promotion and/or graduation, in other cases it will count as 30% of the student’s course grade. How a particular student is affected by his or her performance on the EOC exam is also determined by grade level. A detailed description of the testing requirements for each grade level can be found in the district’s Student Progression Plan on the district’s webpage www.sbac.edu.
Students in 3rd grade this year will be required to achieve a certain score on the end of year F.A.S.T. ELA Reading assessment to be promoted to 4th grade. Students who don’t achieve that score may still be promoted based on ‘good cause’ exemptions determined by the state.
Students entering 9th grade and/or taking Algebra 1 this year will be required to achieve a certain score on the 10th grade language arts F.A.S.T. and the Algebra 1 EOC exam to graduate. Students who don’t pass will be able to retake the test(s) if needed to graduate. More specific information about the testing requirements for graduation can be found on page 17 of this document.
Tips for helping your child do well on state tests
- Attendance is very important. If your child is not in school on a regular basis, he/she is not learning the state standards.
- Know when report cards come home and look carefully at each grade and at the teacher comments. The report card is a strong predictor of how well your child is mastering the standards.
- Arrange for a parent/teacher conference if you feel your child is not progressing satisfactorily.
- Know the school calendar. Do not plan family vacations in the weeks just before or during state testing.
- Your child may bring home sample tests. Make sure your child takes advantage of this opportunity to practice for the test.
- On the days of state testing, plan a little extra time in the morning so that your child has time for a good breakfast and is not rushed preparing for school.
- Be sure your child arrives at school on time during testing days.
- Encourage your child to do his or her best. Be positive when talking to your child about the test. Let your child know that there may be hard questions, but that he/she should not become discouraged.
- Review your child’s test results carefully. Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your child’s teacher.