Studying for the FSA Examinations
Students attending elementary, middle, and high school in the state of Florida are required to take the Florida Standards Assessments (FSAs) each year from grade 3 and until grade 10. While students prepare for these exams throughout the school year in their classrooms, there are also some strategies that students and parents can employ if they want to prepare for these tests more deliberately.
General Exam Information
There are several different types of FSA exams. In grade 3, students will take the English Language Arts (ELA) - Reading exam. Once students begin grade 4, they will take an ELA exam that has both a reading and a writing test. Students in grades 3-8 also take a FSA Mathematics exam. There are also end-of-course (EOC) FSA examinations for Algebra 1 and Geometry.
For each exam, students will have a specific amount of time in which to complete the questions. It may be helpful to keep these time limits in mind while preparing for the exam as working under timed conditions may be stressful to some students.
For the ELA - Writing exam, students will have one session of 120 minutes to complete the exam. The ELA - Reading exam can be completed in two 80-minute sessions. For students in grades 3 through 5, the mathematics exam is administered in two 80-minute sessions while students in grades 6 through 8 will have three 60-minute sessions in which to complete this exam. The EOC exams are administered in two 90-minute sessions.
Exam Content and Question Types
It may also be helpful for students to familiarize themselves with the type of content that will appear on each of the FSA exams, as well as what specific types of questions they will encounter.
For the ELA - Writing exam, students will be given one prompt to which they must respond in essay format. Students in grades 4 and 5 will be asked to give their opinion about a topic or to explain an idea, while students in grades 6 and above will be asked to construct an argument or to provide a more detailed explanation. A student's response is scored according to three main domains: purpose, focus, and organization; evidence and elaboration; and conventions of standard English.
Students taking the ELA - Reading exam will be presented with between 6 and 8 reading passages and 6 or more accompanying questions that are based on the reading. These passages are either categorized as informational, like magazine articles or biographies, or literary, which includes short stories or poetry. As a student progresses through school, the length of these passages will increase. Additionally, this exam tests a student's ability to recognize various English grammatical mistakes by presenting them with a draft essay in which they must identify errors.
For the Mathematics FSA exam, students will be given 56-66 questions to respond to. In grades 3 through 5, the exam will focus on testing students' abilities in the areas of operations, algebraic thinking, fractions, measurement, data, and geometry.
Beginning in grade 6, students will encounter questions that test their knowledge of ratio and proportional relationships, expressions and equations, geometry, statistics and probability, and the number system. In grade 8, questions regarding functions are also introduced.
The EOC Algebra exam includes sections on algebraic modeling; linear, quadratic, and exponential functions; equations and inequalities; rational and irrational numbers; and 1- and 2-variable data. The EOC Geometry exam focuses on topics like congruence, similarity, and trigonometry; geometric measurement and properties; and modeling with geometry.
Preparing for the FSA Exams
When preparing for the FSA exams, there are a number of strategies that students could explore in order to ensure their success. For the ELA - Reading test, students may want to practice reading different types of content to increase their reading speed and ability to comprehend various subjects. Additionally, if parents are helping their children prepare for these exams, they could complete the same readings and create some practice reading comprehension questions for their children to answer.
A similar strategy could be employed to prepare for the ELA - Writing exam. Students could look up different writing prompts online or create their own and practice writing responses to them in the same amount of time they are given to complete the actual ELA exam.
Additionally, older students may be interested in the course that Study.com has created for the FSA ELA exam, FSA - Grades 9-10 ELA: Test Prep & Practice course. This course will provide students with an overview of the types of content that will appear on the FSA exam for Language Arts in grades 9 and 10.
There are a number of other FSA preparation courses that Study.com has created, such as one for the FSA Grade 6 Math Exam|https://study.com/academy/course/fsa-grade-6-math-test-prep-practice.html], all of which are located here.