Florida Districts Embrace Assessment Platform

Since the 2011 passage of Senate Bill 736, the Student Success Act, Florida school districts have been working diligently to revamp their evaluation systems for teachers and school leaders. To meet the requirements of the new law and bolster their efforts to improve educator effectiveness, 22 of Florida’s 67 school districts have adopted FASTe, the Formative Action System for Teacher Effectiveness from Performance Matters. Performance Matters is a Winter Park, Fla.-based provider of integrated, web-based solutions for assessment, data management and teacher effectiveness for the K-12 market.

“We’ve already received feedback from several administrators, who began implementing FASTe just this month, that it is easy to use and that it enables them to note in a natural, genuine way what is happening every day in their classrooms”

Among the most recent Florida districts to purchase FASTe are Citrus County and Indian River County. FASTe is an online platform that connects student outcomes to educator actions. It provides a turnkey system for evaluating educator effectiveness, with a framework that can be customized for each school system.

“We needed a tool to match the state’s new standards for teacher effectiveness and we wanted one integrated tool to serve our needs across the district. FASTe offered us a tool to measure teacher effectiveness, to connect that data with our student data, and to provide differentiated resources to support our teachers and extend their abilities,” said Patrick Simon, director of research and accountability for Citrus County School District. The district, which has received an “A” grade from the state for the past six years, launched a pilot FASTe implementation in selected schools this month, and plans to roll out the online platform across all 23 schools in the fall.

The FASTe framework includes integrated dashboards and analytics accessible via guiding questions that empower educators with the information they need to improve their craft, school policy, and student learning. Prior to the beginning of the school year, educators use FASTe’s baseline module to conduct a district-wide self-assessment. The baseline enables teachers, school leaders and administrators to more effectively schedule student rosters, and to implement policy, programs and professional development aligned to the current needs of the school system.

Once classes begin, FASTe provides ongoing formative support during each instructional cycle by collecting data on student assessments, teachers’ professional development activities, observational outcomes, and other metrics. The program correlates all the data to show the relative effect the activities are having on instruction and learning, and connects educators to the professional development resources or support they require at that particular point in time. Accessible year-round, the FASTe system enables educators to “progress monitor” their performance against the multiple measures that make up their annual evaluations and then produce summative rating reports, based on the school system’s criteria, at the end of the year.