Resources to help prepare students for new reading, writing, and math benchmarks

Oct. 6, 2022 – This is a big year for Florida’s students as they are facing brand-new reading, writing, and mathematics standards for the first time.

These standards are known as the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.).

While district kindergarten and first-grade students engaged with these standards last school year, the standards are being implemented at all levels statewide this school year.  

It is these standards that serve as the foundation for the new state assessment, the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST). This exam replaces the Florida State Assessment (FSA).

To assist families, the district’s Parent Academy is hosting several courses that touch on different aspects of the new Florida benchmarks and assessment.

For example, in September, there were courses on strategies for elementary reading, elementary math, and secondary math.

You can click on the links below to access the courses. Note that you have to type in your name and email to access the videos.

District language arts specialist, Tamara Halyard, taught the “Supporting your third-grade reader at home” course.

In the course, she provides basic information about the FAST assessments including:

  • Tests will be given on the computer, which allows students to receive their scores immediately.
  • There are three FAST exams given during the school year: One at the beginning of the year, one toward the middle, and one at the end of the year. The first two are for diagnostic purposes. The end-of-the-year exam are used for school grades beginning in the 2023-24 school year.
  • Fourth and fifth graders take a writing FAST exam that includes responding to expository (informative) and argumentative prompts. Third-grade students do not take a FAST writing exam. They will answer different types of multiple-choice questions after reading selected text.

With the new changes occurring this school year, Halyard encouraged parents to incorporate reading and writing opportunities daily. Examples include:

  • Establishing a daily reading and writing time daily at home.
  • Having your child read the captions on the tv screen while watching their favorite show.
  • Asking your child to read from the menu during family trips to the restaurant.
  • Cooking together and allowing your child to read the recipes aloud.

Visit the Florida Department of Education for more information about the FAST assessment and B.E.S.T. benchmarks.

Note also the following upcoming Parent Academy classes in October.

  • Models to Math Mastery – Oct. 18
  • Supporting Your Kindergarten-Second Grade Reader at Home – Oct. 19
  • Supporting Your Sixth – 12th Grade Reader at Home – Oct. 20
  • Strategies and Support for the High School Math Student – Oct. 27

Visit the Parent Academy website to sign up for a course.

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