Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FSA: A Brief Overview From a Teacher Trying to Figure it All Out.

Those of you who teach in Florida are probably well aware that we are switching over from FCAT to FSA for standardized testing. While it is scary and unknown and totally new territory, it appears to be happening. I've put together a brief post sharing what I know so far, the resources I've found, and my plan of action to help prepare my students. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, more of a humble teacher on this journey with the rest of you. 

 The only sample assessment I've seen comes from the website pictured. It scares me and makes me uneasy that I've only seen one sample, and the format is new. Anyone with me?! Below I've listed directions to navigate the website for taking a sample assessment. If you haven't taken the sample assessments, brace yourselves. 

It's about to get real, friends! :) By the way, if you click on any of the pictures you can view them larger. 

Some teachers from my school had the idea of using these questions as a problem of the day, but each time you open the assessment, you're started back at question one. Bummer. 

It's my understanding that fifth grade takes the computer-based testing this year, then fourth grade next year, and third grade after that (at least in my district). As a third grade teacher that makes me feel a little better, BUT--if ours is still paper-based this year, what will that look like?! There are so many questions flying around in teachers' heads regarding all of this, that I fear may not be answered until after the fact. I decided that instead of living in fear and refusing to give this test, I would roll with the punches and create a resource for my students that I hope helps. 

I'll be creating 4 parts total, all spiraling third grade math CCSS. Instead of having all "normal" questions students are accustomed to, many of these questions require students to create, select "all that apply," and explain their thinking. It's in a PowerPoint presentation so it can be displayed on any board type, and includes the question on one slide, followed by the answer on the next slide.I also print these questions for student math journals daily. Included in the preview is a free week of POD questions if you'd like to use them. Even if you don't teach 3rd grade, a review never hurt anyone. 

I hope this post is at least a little helpful. I'll share if I get any other information, and please feel free to add any information you have in the comments. Just remember we're all in this together...:)

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  1. Mandy, as a fellow FL 3rd grade teacher, I so appreciate your post! It's scary being expected to prepare our students for this new test when we teachers are unsure of what it will look like. I'm excited to see your POD presentation and look forward to more!

    1. Thank you for your comment! The not knowing really is scary, but we'll get through it! :) Enjoy the POD questions. :)

  2. Hi Mandy! I teach 4th grade in Florida and really appreciate your post! I'm very unsure of myself right now and it isn't a good feeling at all! The good news form my district is that all the FSA assessments are going to be considered baseline/Diagnostic and will not be used against students or teachers. This makes me feel a little better since no one seems quite sure of what to do or what these assessments will really look like. Thank you for sharing!


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