Why Has Testing Changes So Much?

What was the reason for testing changing?


Jillian Scuturo-Mickunas, Contributor

     School testing has taken various forms within the past years. The State Board of Education (the group who makes the tests), made the FCAT, FSA, and FAST testing. These tests change as the state curriculum does, but what was the purpose of it changing, and how much has it been altered? 

     The FCAT first started in 1998 and stood for “The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test”. It was created to make higher standards for students to achieve in reading, writing, math, and science. Sounds like the one we have now. The reason stated for why they changed the test was because of “technical glitches causing problems across the state”.  

     After the FCAT, the FSA took place in 2014 and stood for “The Florida Standards Assessments”. It was created to take the place of the FCAT and change teachers’ teaching standards and curriculum. A few years later the FSA was also replaced because a better way of testing was presented.  

     The FSA got replaced by the FAST in 2022 the FAST stands for “Florida Assessment of Student Thinking”. FAST testing is based on progress monitoring of the students. Instead of having large tests, it would split the testing into multiple tests for parents to be able to monitor their child’s progress in school. It also allowed teachers more time to teach. 

     I asked a few teachers about which test they thought was better, and why. Here is what they had to say: “The FCAT because we did it for the longest time and we learned how to study for it, and it put us on the path to solving real world problems,” said math teacher Mr. Nell.  Another teacher, Mr. Ryan who tested out of state in Georgia, said, “I prefer Georgia because students were required to pass math and reading to make it to the next grade and because of this the success rate was higher.”  

    The main reason why we take these tests is to see if the curriculum is being taught well. Another reason why we take these tests is so the principal and teachers can take data from the tests and see what we did right and what we need to improve on for next year. 

    For most students, studying for the state assessments increases the performance of the student taking the test. Testing will continue to change over time and develop into a more intricate system. As the curriculum changes, so will the testing system. Through studying and paying attention in your classes, your performance on all these tests will improve. So, get to studying!