Students prepare for new FSA tests


Jong Ash's junior english class prepares for upcoming Reading and Writing exam. (Photo:Breedlove)

English teacher Jong Ash’s sophomore English class prepares for upcoming FSA test (Photo: Breedlove).

Kaitlyn Cable, Staff Writer – Citrus County students are preparing for spring assessments, and this year they have a new test to master. The Florida Standards Assessment [FSA] test will replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test [FCAT] as well as other state examinations.

The FSA is an online test tied to the state’s new math, reading and writing standards.There will be questions that ask students to move items around, sort correct answers from those that are wrong, choose the correct answer from drop-down menus or fill in the blanks in math problems. Students will also listen to audio recordings and answer questions based upon what they heard.

Lecanto High School [LHS] Assessment Specialist Catrina Ecklund described what the FSA is and how it will affect the students.

“The new FSA test is replacing the old Pearson FCAT & some End Of Course [EOC] Tests – Reading, Writing, Algebra 1, and Geometry. The state is also introducing Algebra 2 this spring. The only Pearson EOC tests we will continue to give will be the U.S. History and Biology EOC. All of the state tests will continue to be 30 percent of a student’s final class grade,” Ecklund explained.

The FSA test is administered electronically, and LHS sophomore Ally Thomasson is happy that the test will be on the computer.

“I type faster than I write,” said Thomasson.

LHS English teacher Jong Ash is preparing her students for the upcoming exams.

“I am preparing my students by giving them the opportunity to take pretests to see which benchmarks we need to work on as a class. We are also utilizing various test-taking skills on a regular basis through the AP Language curriculum for both reading and writing,” Ash said.

Citrus High School sophomore Audrey Overhuls is also preparing for the test.

“My teachers have given me various worksheets, and as the test nears, we have started reviewing,” Overhuls said.

LHS freshman Marcus Mayeu noticed differences about what the test encompasses.

“I’m practicing informational topics rather than creative writing,” said Mayeu.

Some students are not sure that the FSA test will be useful and would like to see the state of Florida use other means to assess their learning.

“I think standardized testing is useful to a point, but then it becomes excessive. A documentation of our essays and other capabilities in English class would be a better demonstration of work ethic, consistency, and capability,” Thomasson said.

LHS parent Katie Robinson-Jones believes that her child is ready for the FSA test.

“She takes full advantage of the tools and knowledge provided for her by the school system,” said Robinson-Jones.

Ash believes that her students are ready and will demonstrate proficiency on the FSA test.

“My students are absolutely prepared for this test and will do a great job on both sections; they just need to relax and try their best,” Ash said.