FAST Testing

FAST Testing

The FAST assessment. A test the took over FSA that is required for 9th and 10th graders to graduate from high school. At Wesley Chapel High school 9th and 10th grade students take the test each one semester. There are several things that students do not know what the FAST assessment is and how it can affect the classes they are able to take.

So, what is the FAST assessment? Florida Assessment of Student Thinking, “aligned with the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.), which  includes VPK through grade 10 Reading and VPK through grade 8 Mathematics assessments, will be administered as a progress monitoring assessment,” as stated by the Florida Department of Education. This testing will occur three times per school year, at the start of the school year (PM1), in the middle of the school year (PM2), and at the end of the school year (PM3). For instance, 2022–23 Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) Fact Sheet Grades 3–10 ELA Reading and Grades 3–8 Mathematics stated what it should look like for students.

o PM1 – because this administration occurs at the very beginning of the school year, it is designed
to provide a baseline score so teachers can track student progress in learning the B.E.S.T.
Standards from PM1 to PM2.
o PM2 – by the time of this administration window, students will have had an opportunity to learn
the grade-level standards, and this administration will provide a mid-year score to compare to
the baseline score from PM1.
o PM3 – this last administration will provide a summative score that will accurately measure
student mastery of the B.E.S.T. Standards at the end of the school year. While PM1 and PM2 are
for informational purposes only, PM3 will be used for school accountability beginning in the
2023–24 school year.

Next year there may be a new additions to the testing, though it is not set and stone. Since this year was a trial run of FAST testing and not all Florida school do it. For instance, 9th and 10th grade English teachers said, “This year Wesley Chapel was not chosen to take the Writing Portion of the FAST. However, that might not be the case for next year. Therefore, sophomores are highly encouraged to pass the FAST this year to avoid this possibility.” With the writing portion that may be added could affect the schedule of testing next year. Though the main goal for this testing is important for students. Some teachers elaborated, “for all students is to reach a level 3 to show that they are proficient in their grade level standards.  As teachers, we also analyze growth to determine if a student is at least progressing in the standards taught.”

As for students though, some do not realize why they have to take the FAST testing or what may be included in it for next years test. This can effect how much effort and care students put into this test. Some students do not understand how it is beneficial to them and why it even matters.

Take the case of Peyton Cullum, 9th grader, who said, “I think it’s a good idea, but I still don’t fully understand the purpose of the test. I don’t think it’s very beneficial. I guess it provides a check up for students but I think it cause more harm than good.” This can be true for several students who are taking the FAST testing. They understand the WHY of doing it. On the other hand, Zachary Kurland 9th grader said, “I actually do think it is helpful that students take more than one of them during the year so that their progress is accurately measured and can show improvement. The FAST test was like any other quarterly test, standard questions on what we have been learning in class.”

Without of doubt, there is a mix of how students feel about the assessment.

Some students do feel that they recognize the importance of the FAST and that may help them with there focus while taking the test, while others do not quite agree to that. In addition there can be struggles that occur because of the FAST.

Following this further, the 9th and 10th grade teachers have recognized some of the difficulties there were for students taking the test. The teachers stated, “some challenges arise in the beginning of year test period as many of the standards students are being tested on have not been taught in class yet since it happens before teachers are able to dig into the texts/standards. This causes frustration in students, which can lead to apathy during

What the testing environment is like for FAST

the tests.” Therefore this demonstrates the background causes for some students that let their exasperation overwhelm them. Of course, there is hope that as school year keeps going each test will become easier for students. After all, Danico Boswell, 10th grader, said, “the fast was basically like an FSA that you took three times a year. Except for the first time it didn’t matter but then after that you would have show improvement. Difficult level was hard in the beginning of the year but on the next two it was easer…I felt like I did super bad the first time but the second time I did better.” 

Unquestionably, several students have taken the same notion of Danico Boswell. It certainly helps the teachers to provide an understanding for students that do not comprehend the full extent of FAST test.

In this situation, 9th and 10th grade English teachers, said the benefits for taking this is, the “instant reading results. Students will know within a few hours or days what their reading level is and therefore be able to plan how to improve their scores for the next testing opportunity. Teachers are also able to see the scores quickly and therefore adapt lessons for their student’s needs.” As a result, students will be have better chances at fully grasping the information that is giving and how this will be an advantage to the upcoming 9th and 10th grade students next year. Ms. Waselewski, 10th grade Assistant Principal also said, “the FAST test is a great progress monitoring tool for teachers and students to track their mastery of the BEST Standards.” 

In short, while it may seem tedious and without any gain to it, the FAST test does help students in the long run. Upcoming students and those that have already taken it have used the FAST testing to their advantage and overcome all there is.