State DOE committee report: New student assessment presents tougher benchmarks to clear

A Senate education committee heard a progress report on the state's new student assessment tool that started being implemented in the 2022-23 school year.

The state’s new standardized education assessment that debuted during the 2022-23 school year is going to get new benchmarks designed to raise the bar on student performance, members of a Senate education committee were told.

What was considered on-grade level performance is going to get a little more demanding. That’s according to Juan Copa, Deputy Commissioner of the state Department of Education’s (DOE) Division of Accountability, Research & Measurement.

He made the comments in front of the Senate Committee on Education Pre-K-12. Taking last year’s results, the new benchmarks in algebra, for example, would have meant 51% of students taking the assessment would be deemed “proficient” or better, compared to the 54% that met that mark last year, Copa told the committee.

“Is it a more rigorous bar? Yes,” Copa said. “But is it a more rigorous bar that’s outside the norm in terms of what is achievable? No.”

These new benchmarks are going to the state Board of Education for approval next week, Copa said.

Tuesday’s Senate PreK-12 Committee meeting was a progress report on the launch of an assessment that replaced the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) per legislation passed in 2022.

The key defining feature of the new assessment tool, called “Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking” (BEST), is that it measures student progress throughout the year so that teachers can identify and address each student’s needs as they progress through the school year. Scores for the FSA didn’t come out until school was out of session.

“This system provides teachers, students and parents real-time, immediate, actionable data at the beginning, middle and end of the school year to drive student improvement,” Copa said. “And this is truly the game changer of the new system.”

Democratic Sen. Lori Berman of Palm Beach County wanted to know whether the new benchmarks will mean that more schools are rated below a “C.” Copa said that changes in the school grading scale as a result of the new assessment tool won’t be happening until 2024.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Unwoke and Going Broke In Florida

    October 10, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    Folks that are serious about education don’t raise children in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana.

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 11, 2023 at 5:50 am

    Excuses Excuses. Florida standards for academic achievement have always been hard and rewarding. Takes home, politics ,church and community involvement! Yep It takes a village to raise Our Children! Problem? Desantis et al will lie for their own personal gain! Get out Desantis and your other comrades!

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