Parents Get a Taste of the Florida State Assessment

Parents of 9th-11th graders take a practice FSA test.

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Courtesy of Ms. Hayden

Ms. Asen and Mr. Ramos administer the computer-based test to parents.

Mishka Brice, Editor-in-Chief

Starting this year, students in the 9th through 11th grades will be taking the new state test, known as the Florida State Assessment or FSA, in reading, writing, and math. The test replaces the previous state test – the FCAT and will determine graduation status. This week, parents were invited on campus to experience what their children will face when they sit for these computer-based exams.

More than 100 parents participated, filling the four computer labs in the 8000 building.

“It’s important for parents to understand the expectations of this exam for their children,” said Assistant Principal Ms. Hayden. “Parents should experience the rigor and test design so they can encourage, reinforce, and practice their skills with their children.”

The exams will begin in March with the writing exam. Students have already practiced for this exam both on paper and on the computer. The exam consists of writing a multi-paragraph essay using texts provided by the state. The essay will be either informational or argumentative. The reading portion, also completely computer-based, will be administered over two days in 90-minute sessions. For the math section, Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry exams will also be computer-based and in two sessions of 90 minutes each.

“It was extremely beneficial to the parents,” said Ms. Hayden. “My only wish is that more parents could have attended because it’s such important information to discuss as a family.”

After receiving a general overview of the tests’ design and expectations for their children, the parents moved from the Performing Arts Center to the computer labs. After taking a practice reading test, parents were asked for anonymous feedback about the session.  Here are some comments:

  • “What I found most beneficial was taking the test and experiencing what my child will be doing, and also the different websites to help my student prepare.”
  • “The experience of taking a timed test was beneficial. Times have certainly changed and students are far more challenged.”
  • “What I found beneficial was how important it is to know what is going on with your child and his or her education.”
  • “Being able to experience the test for myself gave me the information that I need to help my child be successful.”
  • “Most beneficial was explaining the new FSA standards and differences between the FCAT and the FSA. This will help me better help my son be successful on the test.”
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