Florida Assessment Test (FSA)

The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) measure student’s education gains and progress. These assessments are in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and end-of-course (EOC) subjects (Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry). The ELA assessment is given to students in grades 3-10 and the mathematics assessment is given to students in grades 3-8. The EOC assessments are given at the completion of the corresponding course. If a student in 8th grade or below is taking an EOC course, they will take the EOC assessment but not the grade-level mathematics assessment.

Florida Standards

These are Florida’s standards for determining what a child should know and be able to do at each grade level. These standards are then divided into benchmarks. The benchmarks outline the specific content, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to learn in school. Each student’s performance on the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) indicates his or her progress in reaching these benchmarks.

Access Points were designed to provide students with a significant cognitive disability with access to the general curriculum. Access points are “setting neutral” and do not affect a student’s least restrictive environment. When a student is instructed using access point curriculum, he or she will be tested on the Florida Standards Alternate Assessment (FSAA). The FSAA measures student academic performance on the Access Points just like the FSA measures progress on the Florida Standards.

Accommodations

Similar to having accommodations for the classroom, students with disabilities may be provided with accommodations for the Florida Standards Assessment Just like the student’s accommodations for the classroom, the accommodations for the FSA should also be listed on the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The student’s IEP must determine what accommodations the student will need. Accommodations are changes in how the test is given and not in what is tested on the FSA. The purpose of providing accommodations is to enable the student to demonstrate knowledge and skills without affecting the validity or reliability of the test. Some accommodations allowed in the classroom are not allowed on the FSA.

Examples of accommodations not allowed on the FSA include:

  • use of calculator for basic computation in grades 3 through 6
  • use of spelling or grammar check on written responses
  • graphic organizer software to assist in preparing responses
  • text-to-speech software for the reading portion of the test
  • having a proctor read aloud items that test reading skills

Note: If your child needs a certain accommodation to be successful in class, he or she is still entitled to that accommodation during class time, even if it is not available during standardized assessments. The school may ask you to acknowledge that you understand that the accommodation will be provided in some settings (like class) but not others (like the FSA)

See the 2019-2020 Statewide Assessments Accommodations Guide for more information.

In order to be approved for use during testing, a unique accommodation must be documented on an IEP or Section 504 Plan, must be used regularly by the student in the classroom, and must not negate the validity or threaten the security of the assessment.

Written requests for unique accommodations must be submitted using the Unique Accommodations Request Form provided by FDOE

3rd grade FSA

In order for a student in 3rd grade to be promoted to 4th grade, they must score at least a level 2 on the English Language Arts FSA

There are, however, good cause exemptions that may allow a student in these circumstances to still be promoted on to the 4th grade. Students who meet one of the following criteria may be considered for a good cause exemption: 

  • English Language Learners (ELLs) with less than two years in an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program,
  • Students with disabilities whose individual educational plan (IEP) indicates that participation in the FCAT is not appropriate,
  • Students who demonstrate an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading assessment approved by the State Board of Education,
  • Students who demonstrate proficiency in accordance with the Sunshine State Standard Benchmarks of Language Arts through a student portfolio,
  • Students with disabilities who participate in the statewide standardized assessment and whose IEP or 504 plan reflects that the student has received intensive remediation in reading and English Language Arts for more than two year, but still, but still demonstrate a deficiency in reading, and who were previously retained in kindergarten, first, second, or third grade, or,
  • Students who have received two or more years of intensive remediation and who still demonstrate a deficiency in reading and who were previously retained in kindergarten, first, second, or third grade for a total of two years.
  • Students who have received intensive remediation in reading and English Language Arts for two or more years, but who still have a deficiency in reading and have already been retained in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2 or grade 3 for a total of two years.
  • A student may not be retained more than once in grade 3.

Mid-year promotion is available to a retained 3rd grader who, during the first semester of the school year, demonstrates that he or she is a successful and independent reader and performing at or above grade level in reading or performing at or above grade level in English Language Arts. One way the student may show this is by completing a portfolio that demonstrates mastery of the appropriate benchmarks. 

10th Grade ELA and Algebra 1 EOC

Students in 10th grade and/or taking Algebra 1 must achieve a certain score on the 10th grade ELA test and the Algebra 1 assessment in order to meet graduation requirements.

This requirement may be waived for students with disabilities if the IEP team determines that the statewide, standardized assessments cannot accurately measure the student’s abilities, taking into consideration all allowable accommodations.

Alternatively, if a student achieves satisfactory scores (as identified by the Commissioner of Education) on the SAT and ACT, it may satisfy the graduation requirement.

Strategies

  • Discuss with the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team the ways the school can teach the student to learn the skills needed for all content areas tested on the FSA.
  • Remember that students with disabilities may also take the FSA unless the IEP team, on which the parent is a required member, determines that the student should be exempted from the taking the FSA. An IEP team should not automatically determine that a student should be exempted from taking the FSA just because the student is one with disabilities or because the student’s disability is “severe”. 
  • Discuss with the IEP team what accommodations the student will need for the classroom and for the FSA. Remember that not all accommodations for the classroom are allowed during the FSA.
  • If the student has not passed the grade 10 FSA after taking it at least twice, ask the IEP team to consider the FSA waiver and/or special exemption. 
  • If you have any other questions concerning the FSA, you may contact the Florida Department of Education at 850-245-0513 or visit www.fldoe.org.

Links

K - 12 Assessments

  • FSA (Florida Standards Assessments): Students in grades 3–10 take the English Language Arts FSA; students in grades 3–8 take the Mathematics FSA (Bureau of K-12 Student Assessment)
  • Statewide Science Assessment: Students in grades 5 and 8 take the Statewide Science Assessment (Bureau of K-12 Student Assessment)
  • End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments: Students in any grade completing courses in Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology 1, U.S. History, or Civics (or their equivalent courses) (Bureau of K-12 Student Assessment)
  • ACCESS for ELLs: Students in grades K–12, currently classified as English Language Learners, with a code of "LY" (Bureau of K-12 Student Assessment)
  • FLKRS (Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener): Students in kindergarten take the Star Early Literacy® Assessment (Bureau of K-12 Student Assessment)
  • FSAA (Florida Standards Alternate Assessment): Students with significant cognitive disabilities whose participation in the general statewide assessment, even with accommodations, is not appropriate (Bureau of K-12 Student Assessment)
  • National and International Assessments: Representative samples of students selected to participate in NAEP, PISA, PIRLS, and TIMSS (Office of Assessment)
  • High School Equivalency (GED® Test): Individuals (age requirements apply) desiring a high school equivalency diploma (Division of Career and Adult Education/Bureau of Budget, Accountability, and Assessment)

Florida Statute

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

  • Accommodations: Assisting Students with Disabilities - Help teachers and parents make decisions about accommodations for students with disabilities. Four categories of accommodations are identified along with numerous examples. There are strategies to help teachers and students implement and monitor the impact of accommodations for classroom instruction and assessment

Waiver