How To Prepare Your Child For The FSA Reading Test?
The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) are annual exams for the English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. In truth, the Florida standards assessments are split into three sections: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, but they are only available to a certain grade range.
Each section is only available to certain grades, but all students of grades 3 to 10 write and FSA in one way or another. The reading portion is the one section that lasts through all of these grades.
This article will only look at the reading section of the three tests and how you can use a practice test to help your child prepare for the FSA.
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About the Florida Standards Assessments
The FSA is the main aspect of how Florida examines its students’ language, speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. All these skills are tested in two main examinations: the FSA ELA Reading assessment and the FSA ELA Writing assessment.
According to Florida Standards, this standardized test measures students’ mastery of said subjects. Florida students can’t take any Florida Standards Assessments below their enrolled grade level.
Luckily, the same does not apply the other way around. In other words, if your child is receiving accelerated instruction, they will take the FSA assessment that matches the grade level of that instruction.
Is the FSA Available Online?
The real test is issued by a school and cannot be completed in your own time. However, there are practice tests you can complete at home, such as those available from retailers such as Amazon from websites like JobTestPrep.
These tests can come in paper copies with additional textbooks as marking and studying material. These books will help prepare students for the examinations through helpful tips and study guides.
The answer varies if you are wondering whether the Florida Standards Assessment is completed on paper or on a computer. FSA assessments for grades 3 through 6 are always done on paper. On the other hand, FSA assessments for grades seven through ten will be completed on a computer.
How Does It Affect Students With Disabilities?
There are several ways to write the Florida Standards Assessment, meaning the FSA also caters to the needs of students with disabilities. Some accommodations such as large print or Braille for students require such adjustments.
Grade seven through ten students with disabilities have the option to take paper-based versions of the test or receive virtual accommodations, such as text-to-speech for the vision-impaired.
The Florida Standards Alternate Assessment (FSAA) is provided for qualifying students whose disabilities prevent them from accessing FSA.
This version of the test differs in its marking style, and scoring system as the FSAA tests students on the Florida Standards Access Points (FS-APS) for ELA and Math and the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards Access Points (NGSSS-APS) for science and social studies, learning standards designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
Different Types of Questions Asked in the Florida Standards Assessments
The ELA Reading assessments contains around 55–66 questions that need to be answered. The overall format of the question stays the same throughout the eight years your child will be writing these assignments.
The most significant difference in the transition from paper tests to electronic testing is how the questions are posed and answered. This sudden shift might cause some undue test anxiety for younger students.
Virtual tests go beyond basic multiple-choice questions. Modern tests have started using digital technology to test students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills. You’ll want your students to be familiar with the types of questions they may encounter on the Florida Standards Assessment, whether drag-and-drop, multiple selections, or tables and charts.
When it comes to the virtual version of the ELA Reading FSA assessment, students will have to respond to questions that are connected to a reading passage. These questions are called Technology Enhanced Items (TEIs). TEIs require students to move, select, or construct the correct answer. Eight types of TEI may appear on any FSA ELA Reading test:
Editing Task Choice Item
The student must correct a highlighted word or phrase. On the computer version, your child must choose from a drop-down menu. The paper test will have them circling the correct choice on the paper answer sheet.
Editing Task Item
Your child must decide whether a given the word or phrase is correct or incorrect. They must provide the correct version if they decide the word or phrase is incorrect.
The electronic version requires students to type out their answers. Paper-based tests allow students to write out the correct phrase in the paragraph.
Hot Text Item
There are two versions of this question for the electronic version: Selectable Hot Text and Drag-and-Drop Hot Text questions.
Selectable Hot Text questions: The student must hover the mouse over a certain paragraph of text and then be presented with different corrections for that highlighted text.
With Drag-and-Drop Hot Text questions, the student must drag and drop the correct text into the correct place.
There is a similar version of this question for paper-based formats. The student is presented with multiple answers and invited to circle the correct answer.
Open Response Item
The student must answer a question in one or two complete sentences using their own words.
The student must choose a certain number of answers that they think fit the question. The options are usually presented as a list of options.
Evidence-based Selected Response (EBSR)
The student must use the passage to answer two parts of a question.
The first part is usually a multiple-choice question. The second part B is usually a multi-select question, but it can also be posed similarly to the first.
The first part asks the student to conclude the text, while the second requires them to choose a supporting statement for their argument.
Graphic Response Item Display (GRID)
The student must use drag-and-drop phrases, words, or images and arrange them as the question requests of them.
The paper-based test offers another TEI of the same standard, which is paper-friendly.
Your child will be given a form of multimedia, such as animations, slideshows, and audio clips. They will then be given any of the earlier questions whose answer is based on multimedia.
Paper-based assessments assess the student to the same standard. Audio clips may still be included in the paper-based assessment for grades 4 to 10.
What are Item Specifications in the FSA?
Item Specifications are four standards for the FSA ELA Reading assessment. They are issued for each grade, and the standards are the same for each assessment. The only difference is that the level of difficulty increases grade by grade.
Key Ideas and Details
These types of questions have the students decide what the message or idea is behind the provided text. Students must also say whether the message is stated explicitly or if it must be inferred through logic.
To do this, students must cite evidence directly from the text. They can do this by summarizing key ideas, themes, and details from the text.
Craft and Structure
These questions have students interpreting the meaning of a text through its choice of words. Analyzing the tone or meaning of a sentence or passage is important here.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
These questions test whether your child can analyze the content presented in various formats, such as animations or audio. Students must examine specific claims within the text and decide whether the argument holds up.
To do this, students must compare two or more different texts and their themes.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
The test ultimately sees if the student can comprehend reading extracts that range from simple to complex informational and literary texts for their grade level.
There are some other similar kind of exams are available to understand the reading skills of students.
This might not be the first time your child completed an examination in a virtual environment, but the online setting can still trigger many test anxiety in younger students. A lot of the preparation that goes into this section of the test should be focused on getting your child ready for the testing environment.
Have your children take practice tests on the same device that they’ll use for the Florida Standards Assessment. If you are sure that your child is computer literate, then they just need to know how the virtual test-taking programs work.
By providing practice in a virtual testing environment, students will be more confident and know what to expect on test day. The best way to provide a testing environment for your child is to use practice tests from trusted testing websites such as JobTestPrep.
What Is the Testing Window for the FSA?
The testing period differs for each grade. Be sure to check when the test dates are as they change each year. The Retake tests also change the date and are usually only released around the time the actual test is written.
Here are this year’s dates for each grade range:
- Grade 3 ELA Reading April: 4–15, 2022
- Grades 4–6 ELA Reading: May 2–13, 2022
- Grades 7–10 ELA Reading: May 2–27, 2022
What Is the Duration of the Florida Standards Assessments?
Each test changes in length depending on the grade that takes it. The ELA Reading Retake is administered in two 90-minute sessions, but students may use up to half the length of a typical school day to complete each session.
- Grades 3–5: Two 1 hour and 20-minute sessions
- Grades 6–8: Two 1 hour and 25-minute sessions
- Grades 9–10: Two one-and-a-half-hour sessions
How Are the Assessments Graded?
Your child’s abilities are benchmarked against the Florida Standards called the Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS). These examinations are all specific to Florida’s branch of the ELA.
The levels are as follows:
- Level 1: Students demonstrate an inadequate level of success
- Level 2: Students demonstrate a below satisfactory level of success
- Level 3: Students demonstrate a satisfactory level of success.
- Level 4: Students demonstrate above the satisfactory level of success
- Level 5: Students demonstrate mastery of the standards.
What Happens if You Fail?
Any student whose scores fall in Level 1 will be held back and not promoted to the next grade. This decision is reinforced by Florida law and cannot be changed. Their child’s school notifies parents of students who have scored Level 1 of this risk. But there is one more chance to prevent retention.
There is a retake test later in the year that your child can take. If your child is at risk of being retained, intense studying and preparation is the only way to ensure their retake passes.
Even though the FSA only lasts until the 10th grade, failing your earlier exams can still have an effect on your child’s graduation. 10th-grade students are required to pass the FSA ELA to graduate.
The FSA Reading test is a part of three standardized tests which change in difficulty and duration depending on the student’s year of study. Passing or failing this test can be used to keep your child in their current grade until they are ready to pass on to the next one. This is a good enough reason for most parents to have their children practice the subjects for each test in assurance.
There is no reason to worry about your child not passing their course with the help of JobTestPrep. A student’s teachers can help you find free testing material, but if you want to give your child the confidence they need to pass the test and progress to the next grade, then you should use JobTestPrep’s study materials.
JobTestPrep can track your child’s progress and help them review their weak points to help them prep for the exam.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.