The Florida Mathematics Standards Assessment Program


Since the second half of the twentieth century, the public conscience has believed that educational systems do not cope with the new tasks put before them and do not provide the expected economic and social benefits. Critical attitude to education is expressed in statements about the decline in educational programs’ quality and low efficiency. The leitmotif of numerous speeches by government officials at various levels on educational issues is the demand to improve the quality of education and the return on the funds invested.

A formalized pragmatic (quasi-economic) approach is usually proposed as a tool for reforming educational systems. It provides various forms of total control when any learning activity is evaluated through particular indicators to distribute students based on their ratings unambiguously. An appropriate reporting system is being introduced, new educational standards are being developed, the model of a higher school graduate is being changed, principles are being changed, and the organization of the educational process is becoming different.

Meanwhile, the problems of the content of educational programs and their adequacy to the challenges of the modern world, changing socio-economic relations, and the urgent tasks of science and technology development are often relegated to the back burner. It is important to note that the assessment of an academic program is one of the most critical tools for reviewing the quality of learning, which can determine the level and nature of student achievement. The primary purpose of the assignment is to assess the comprehensiveness, reflexivity, and adaptability of the components of the program and analyze its main features and their impact on possible student outcomes.

Particular attention will be considered to the need for the existence of this program, its intended purpose, and critical conditions. For these purposes, the Florida Mathematics Standards Assessment Program is chosen to be administered to students in grades 3-8 after completing a specific course. Therefore, the assessment will be used to ensure that students are laying a solid foundation of mathematical understanding necessary to have the sequential knowledge needed for their future. Evaluation of the program will be able to identify different ways to develop the academic field and possible solutions to problems, improve the effectiveness of the program, and improve student outcomes.

Program Description

According to the curriculum, the Floyd Standards Assessment in Mathematics is a particular exam whose primary purpose is to show whether students are achieving the required level of achievement in algebra and geometry. It is designed to show the balance between the necessary level of achievement set by the state and students’ actual performance and their ability to think critically and analytically (Fromal, 2022). The results of the Mathematics program are used primarily to introduce further improvements and to identify curricular gaps and weaknesses in implementation at specific institutions.

They reveal each student’s characteristics and measure their level of graduation readiness and ability to achieve academic success. In this way, it is possible to measure students’ enthusiasm and adjust instruction according to results at specific grade levels. This program is mandatory for students in grades 3-8, and students who participate in these courses are required to take the End-of-Course (FSA EOC) in Algebra and Geometry (Fromal, 2022). It provides for students with cognitive disabilities to take it and is the primary source of assessment for home-schooled students. The Florida Standards can be assessed online using a system called the Test Delivery System or by using a flask and a paper, depending on the grade level and content of the exam. Students with disabilities can have their eligibility documented by the FSA (Fromal, 2022). Thus, the program is a multicomponent and multitasking resource, and an evaluation of its components is necessary for a comprehensive understanding of its effectiveness and efficiency.

Program Documentation and Review

As previously stated, the primary purpose of the mathematics program is to measure student achievement of the Florida State Standards for Educational Achievement. The assessment itself is part of Florida’s educational program and part of the state’s accountability system. It is used to assess schools and districts, allowing everyone to monitor the progress and transformation of the educational system (Florida Department of Education). Assessment impacts assist Florida’s leadership and schooling stakeholders in determining whether the education system’s objectives are being met.

Assessments help the state in the process of determining whether students are armed with the necessary knowledge and skills. To familiarize oneself with the program’s features and components and prepare to take it, one should visit the Assessment Handbook, which contains all the information. The positive outcome is that one can learn about the item and test development process, the mechanics of the assessment, and the meaning of the various assessment scores (Ary et al., 2018). This understanding can help educators, parents, and students learn more about the entire assessment process, including the time and resources that go into each step, from development to scoring.

Much of the information in this guide has already appeared in other publications and on the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) website. While some of the information about the assessment program is technical, the guide is written for those who do not have specialized knowledge of psychometrics or measurement practices (Florida Department of Education). The specialized data is presented first on a conceptual level and in the context of its applicability to tests.

Moreover, the Appendix provides an overview of the history of the program, as well as legislative requirements and how to use it. The Nationwide Assessment Program provides feedback and accountability indicators for educators, policymakers, students, and other Florida citizens. For some lecturers, parents, and other stakeholders, much of the data in this guide may be unique (Glasscock et al., 2021). Still, the expansion and implementation of the national assessments program were shaped by the vigorous participation of thousands of Florida professors performing on diverse committees. The course description states its purpose so that students know what they will learn in the course (Florida Department of Education). Depending on their nature, changes in the program can have a negative or positive impact on students. Of course, a huge plus is that each student has the opportunity to see the test online and try their hand at it before taking the final examination.

The math test questions reflect the range of knowledge on the assessed content. In this way, it is much easier to identify students who reach a relatively higher level and a somewhat lower level. Overall, the range of item difficulty allows for creating a scale of student achievement that contains valuable information about students at all levels of achievement (Florida Department of Education). In addition to selecting items for content coverage, test developers choose items based on difficulty data from either field tests or practice in previous years.

The FSA tests assess students qualitatively and quantitatively, with different exam times set for each grade. The exams for grades 3 through 5 are 2 hours and 80 minutes, and for steps 6 through 8 are 2 hours and 60 minutes (Florida Department of Education). Florida public school students’ math assessments are carefully tested against the Florida Mathematics Assessment Standard (MAFS). The math section of the FSA exam contains 55 to 66 questions, and students must score 3 out of 5 levels of the testing structure to pass the exam. Thus, it is a comprehensive and carefully crafted program tailored to the needs of the students.

Review of Literature Related to the Program

It is evident that the large-scale structural changes significantly transform the existing mechanisms for assessing students’ academic achievements. Therefore, according to Gardeazabal and Vega‐Bayo (2017), programs must comply with the updated principles of education management and the new didactic model of the graduate. At the same time, the rejection of the historical and national context of educational activity leads to a shift in the goalposts. Moreover, it questions the effectiveness of the traditional evaluation system and the legitimacy of using the parameters by which students’ academic achievements are determined. The application of the system of evaluation of academic achievements, adequate to the educational activity’s goals and objectives, could help improve the planning and organization of the educational process (Gardeazabal & Vega‐Bayo, 2017). It could assist in developing unified requirements for evaluating students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities to obtain differentiated and versatile information on the quality and effectiveness of student learning.

Backes and Cowan (2019) claim that assessing academic progress and learning outcomes can be considered a component of a complex set of academic, social, and personal issues arising in the learning process. It can serve as a tool to improve the learning process and improve the quality of educational programs. Evaluation is operated both for current control of the learning process and at the final stage of any educational program in final certification (Backes & Cowan, 2019). Its crucial element is to assess the consistency, integrity, and depth of students’ acquired knowledge and professional readiness.

The significant transformations that have taken place in recent years in the technical side of life in the modern world strongly suggest that mathematics is an essential tool for successfully addressing the numerous problems faced by young people. It has been argued that one needs to possess several mathematical competencies, which were seen as components of the overall mathematical competence required to solve various problems (Donald 20). Three levels of competence were established: the level of reproduction, making connections, and the level of reflection.

However, Ceylan and Kesici (2017) revealed that different students show different levels of competence for the same task, depending on the specifics of the curriculum and teaching process. The adopted levels of competence did not reflect the main activities in problem-solving. As a result, three verbs were proposed to describe problem-solving activities: formulate, apply, and interpret, which reflect the main activities in problem-solving through the use of mathematics (Ceylan & Kesici, 2017). It is these considerations that should be the core for the improvement of educational programs and their development.

A mathematics program should display multiple levels with a complete mapping of all competencies and required skills. All of the mathematical activities emphasized at lower levels are components of the activities inherent in the higher level in comparison (Campbell & Filimon, 2018). At the same time, assigning students to the group that showed results below Level 1 means that this student could not successfully apply their mathematical knowledge even in the most straightforward situations offered in the tests.

The fundamental mathematical ability has a central role in determining different levels of success in mathematical literacy. For example, the program’s description of Level 4 highlights aspects of mathematization and information presentation that distinguish it. Daniel et al. (5) state that it is crucial that the student has communicative and reasoning skills as a result of learning, and these skills should improve with each level of the program. Moreover, the division into multiple groups is necessary to understand instructional strategies and plan for student progress.

Methods Used to Evaluate the Program

In order to qualitatively evaluate the program, it is necessary to separately consider several of its main components, each directly affected by the analysis of effectiveness. Some of the sample elements were selected student outcomes according to a scale formed from one to five levels. The assessment structure included such concepts as implementation, integration, and informing as the leading indicators of effectiveness and performance (Appendix). Participants in the program are all general education students because the program’s passing allows them to continue their schooling.

The program documents do not provide any quantitative information on the percentage of students who did not take the test, however posting it would help understand a holistic picture of failure rates in the state. Though among the positives is the presence of the Know Your Schools portal which gives parents, teachers, and administrators the ability to map and compare Florida public schools to other schools (Taylor et al., 2019). Additionally, they can review annual graduation reports and benchmark student achievement against the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The program is entirely free, as all costs are covered by the education system, which operates the public schools.

The website contains a tab with historical information about the assessment process and a chronology of its changes. While the information is brief and does not describe all of the creators and milestones, it reflects a great effort to preserve historical data about the national assessment program. It was developed by the FCAT administration, which incorporated mathematics assessment into the program in 2001 (Hughes & Codding, 2021). It then went through a critical quality control phase, with Department of Education officials approving score reports and sending them out to districts. It demonstrates that the program has been thoroughly tested and is a reliable option for assessing learning. Moreover, the State Board of Education has set a passing score of 300 (Hughes & Codding, 2021). Students must achieve it as one of the requirements for a regular high school diploma.

Workload and curriculum assignments can contribute to measuring its success. Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) assignments consist of test items that include traditional multiple-choice projects, assignments that require the student to type or write an answer, and technology-enhanced assignments (TEIs). Technology-enhanced objects are computer-based items that demand the student to interact with the test scope to select, create, and justify a solution (Mertens & Wilson, 2018). There are currently nine types of TEIs that can be present on FSA computerized math tests. For students with an IEP or 504 plan that specifies paper-based accommodations, the TEIs will be modified or replaced with test items that can be scanned and scored electronically (Mertens & Wilson, 2018). Any task type can be combined into a single multi-part task, called a multi-interaction task.

Feedback from students and their parents after taking the test can be another possible assessment element. It is essential to consider the percentage of students who pass, the amount of time it takes to complete specific assignments and the overall condition of the students after the assessment. Likewise, one should pay attention to the process of preparing for the exam, which is facilitated by the availability of numerous online materials and specially designed textbooks to help consolidate knowledge (O’Flaherty & Liddy, 2018). Thus, it can be stated that the program is based on a comprehensive approach and its elements are well-thought-out to improve academic performance.


Independent assessment of the quality of education aims to obtain information about scholarly activities, the grade of students’ knowledge, and the effectiveness of academic programs’ implementation. It is a determination through diagnostic and assessment procedures of the degree of compliance of the resource provision of the educational process, academic results, and normative requirements to social and personal expectations. Evaluation is necessary to analyze educational outcomes and conditions of their provision to the system of requirements for the quality of schooling fixed in the regulatory documents. The performance of this assignment enabled to understand that it is necessary to prepare and completely comprehend the program’s features to improve students’ results.

Moreover, numerous specialists must be involved in adjusting the agenda to have a more competent and comprehensive approach to developing assignments. It is feasible to conclude that the mathematics program is comprehensively designed and has subdivisions into several levels with distinctive competencies, which is significant for understanding its essence. It is a qualitative version of the knowledge test, which will further improve students’ results and competent option for checking the correlation of their knowledge with the state’s requirements.


Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Irvine, C. K. S., & Walker, D. (2018). Introduction to research in education. Cengage Learning.

Backes, B., & Cowan, J. (2019). Is the pen mightier than the keyboard? The effect of online testing on measured student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 68, 89-103.

Campbell, Y. C., & Filimon, C. (2018). Supporting the argumentative writing of students in linguistically diverse classrooms: An action research study. RMLE Online, 41(1), 1-10.

Ceylan, V. K., & Kesici, A. E. (2017). Effect of blended learning to academic achievement. Journal of Human Sciences, 14(1), 308-320.

Fromal, K. What is the FSA Test?, Web.

Florida Department of Education. Florida Standards Assessments. Web.

Gardeazabal, J., & Vega‐Bayo, A. (2017). An empirical comparison between the synthetic control method and hsiao et al.’s panel data approach to program evaluation. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 32(5), 983-1002.

Glasscock, D., Merriman, C., Robertson, D., & Smyth, C. (2021). Organizing a Short Online Math Program Successfully. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 68(6), 1-7.

Hughes, E. M., & Codding, R. S. (2021). The Science of Math and Class-Wide Math Intervention. Communique, 50(4), 1-26.

Mertens, D. M., & Wilson, A. T. (2018). Program evaluation theory and practice. Guilford Publications.

O’Flaherty, J., & Liddy, M. (2018). The impact of development education and education for sustainable development interventions: a synthesis of the research. Environmental Education Research, 24(7), 1031-1049.

Taylor, J., Martinez, K., & Hart, S. A. (2019). The Florida state twin registry. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 22(6), 728-730.

Appendix A

Rubric for Evaluating Institutional Effectiveness: Student Learning Outcomes

Levels of Implementation


  • There is an understanding of the division of competencies into levels according to the age of the students
  • There is a definite goal of high academic achievement, and there is a connection between the program and its outcomes
  • There is an understanding of the need to involve teachers and students in the program for a better implementation of the transformation
  • The creators of the program understand the time it takes to take the test and is willing to provide students with preparation materials
  • There is a possibility of taking a trial version of the online test to improve the preparation


  • Program designers have established a precise institutional framework, timeline, and expected outcomes
  • The assessment strategy is multi-component and the same for all students
  • Parents and teachers can monitor the status of the curriculum
  • Components address both analytical and critical abilities and the appropriateness of the application
  • Appropriate resources are provided to support student learning outcomes and testing


  • Assessment results are used to improve student outcomes and transform curricula accordingly
  • Results are published openly, and everyone has the opportunity to review their mistakes
  • Decision-making includes dialogue about assessment results and is targeted to improve student learning
  • Comprehensive assessment reports exist and are produced regularly.
  • Sustained continuous quality development