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What Are the English Language Arts Assessments?

Florida routinely examine students’ language, speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students’ abilities are benchmarked against the Florida Standards specific to the ELA examinations, called the Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS). All these skills are tested in two main examinations: the FSA ELA Reading assessment and the FSA ELA Writing assessment.

  • The Grade 3 ELA Reading test and Grades 4–7 ELA Writing test are administered as paper–based tests.
  • The Grades 8–10 Retake ELA Writing test and Grades 4–10 Retake ELA Reading test are administered on the computer.

To find out when your child is due to take his or her FSA ELA assessments, or any other FSA or NGSSS assessments, as well as to find out about FSA ELA scores, head to our FSA FAQ page.

Following Florida Law, any 3rd grade student who scores in the lowest level, Level 1, will be held back and not promoted to fourth grade. Parents of students who have scored Level 1 are notified by the school of the risk of retention. Some children may benefit from retention and the extra year to assist with their academic development. However, if your child is at risk of being retained in 3rd grade and would benefit from promotion to 4th grade, intense studying and preparation can help ensure your child passes his or her retake.

Students in 11th and 12th grade who have yet to pass the Grade 10 ELA assessment, or 10th grade students who have been retained, must take the ELA Retake assessment. 10th grade students are required to pass the FSA ELA to graduate.

Working with FSA assessment practice tests is an excellent way to prepare students not only for their FSA ELAs, but also for improving their abilities to work with technology, perform better under pressure, and excel on all of the standardized tests they may face in their academic lifetime. Find out how TestPrep-Online can assist with preparation for your child’s reading test or retake.

ELA Reading assessments increase in session duration every few grades:

  • Grades 3–5: Two 80-minute sessions, one per day.
  • Grades 6–8: Two 85-minute sessions, one per day.
  • Grades 9–10: Two 90-minute sessions, one per day.
  • Retake: Two 90 minute assessments, one per day. Note that students can continue to work for up to half a school day on the test if desired.
  • How Many Questions Are on the ELA FSA Tests?

Students must answer the following number of questions, called items, on the ELA FSA exams:

  • The ELA Writing assessment contains one item.
  • The ELA Reading assessments contains 55–66 items.

What Is on the FSA ELA Writing Assessment?

The ELA FSA Writing assessment enables students to demonstrate their ability to organize their ideas and express their thoughts in a clear manner. Topics for this assessment include:

Text Types and Purposes – Students must use reasoning and analysis to support written arguments. Students must write in an informative or explanatory manner to convey information and ideas with clarity and accuracy. Students must develop narratives for fiction and non-fiction events, using appropriate structure and details.

Production and Distribution of Writing – Students must write coherently and clearly, matching the style and structure to the appropriate audience and purpose of the text. Students must plan, edit, revise, rewrite, or restructure texts to increase the strength and quality of the text. Students must use the internet and other technology to create collaborative productions.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge – Students must conduct research on both broad and focused questions and topics. Students must gather information from multiple sources, including print and digital resources, and assess the credibility of each source and the accuracy of the information.

Range of Writing – Students must write for various purposes, tasks, and audiences in both short periods of time and extended periods of time, enabling reflection, research, and revision of writing. Students must write in a variety of writing styles, all of which can be adapted through planning and editing techniques.

FSA Writing Prompts

On the FSA Writing assessment, students are expected to read a variety of passages and respond to a writing prompt. Taking instruction from the prompt, students must plan their response and leave enough time to read through their work and make any necessary revisions. To assist with time management and response planning, a planning sheet is issued to students, for both paper and computer format ELA Writing assessments. The purpose of this planning sheet is for the student to plan a structured response that addresses the questions he or she is being asked in the writing prompt.

  • Students taking the paper-based tests in 4th through 7th grade are issued a book that contains reading passages, a writing prompt, and lined answer pages for students to note down their responses.
  • Students taking the computer-based tests in 8th through 10th grade, and students taking ELA Writing retakes, are presented with all the resources onscreen. The screen is split into a reading passage, a writing prompt, and a text box in which the response must be typed.

FSA Writing Practice

Students can prepare for writing prompts by reading books and a variety of other materials, as well as by thinking critically about the narratives and the authors’ perspective. Writing prompts both instruct students on what they must write about and how they should go about constructing their essays.

Students will be advised to:

  • Be careful with time management.
  • Read the passages fully.
  • Use evidence from across all the sources provided.
  • Plan a response.
  • Include an introduction, structured paragraphs, and a conclusion.
  • Write the response.
  • Review and edit the response.

Students can prepare for the FSA Writing assessment by practicing with writing prompts to improve their writing style, time management, and the overall quality of their responses. TestPrep-Online offers FSA –style writing practice to help students of all grades prepare for their FSA ELA Writing exam. TestPrep-Online offers FSA ELA writing tips and FSA ELA Writing prompts. 

What Is Examined in the FSA ELA Reading Assessment?

There are four standards for the FSA ELA Reading assessment. These standards are also called "Item Specifications" and are issued for each grade. The standards are the same throughout all the ELA grade assessments, with the level of difficulty increasing grade by grade.

Key Ideas and Details – Students must decide what the message or idea behind the text is, and whether it is stated explicitly or must be inferred logically. Students must cite evidence drawn directly from the text to support their arguments. Students must identify and summarize key ideas, themes, and details in the text, and they must analyze the reasoning behind the development of events, ideas, and individuals within the text.

Craft and Structure – Students must interpret meanings of text by analyzing how word choices can shape the tone or meaning of a sentence or passage. Students must identify and determine connotative, figurative, and technical meanings within a text. Students must analyze sentence, paragraph, and passage structure, as well as analyze the purpose of the style used in the text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas – Students must analyze content presented in various formats, including different medias. Students must identify and examine specific claims within the text, evaluating the validity of the evidence and reasoning. Students must compare and analyze two or more different texts, identifying how authors approach themes and how the texts address topics.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity – Students must be proficient at reading and comprehending simple and complex informational and literary texts.

There are also other standards for Speaking and Listening, as well as additional Language Standards that are tested through the Writing and Reading assessments.

FSA ELA Speaking and Listening Standards

There are two ELA Speaking and Listening Standards:

Comprehension and Collaboration – Students must make necessary preparations to participate and collaborate with peers. Students must express their own thoughts with clarity and persuasiveness, as well as develop and build upon other contributors’ ideas. Students must work with information presented in various formats (visual, quantitative, oral) to evaluate and integrate the different information they receive. Students must evaluate a speaker’s tone, speech, and reasoning to identify the speaker’s point of view as well as his or her use of evidence and rhetoric in the statement or argument.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas – Students, as speakers, must present supporting evidence along with their findings in a manner that enables listeners to understand the students’ reasoning. Students must be comfortable using digital mediums to present information. Students must demonstrate a strong command of formal English language, as well as adapt speech and presentation styles to suit the task and information being relayed.

FSA ELA Language Standards

There are three ELA Language Standards:

Conventions of Standard English – Students must use grammar correctly when writing and speaking. This includes correct use of capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Knowledge of Language – Students must understand the function of language within a variety of contexts.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use – Students must determine the appropriate meaning of words that have multiple meanings by analyzing context and word parts as well as by using reference materials. Students must understand nuances of word meanings, figurative language, and general academic phraseology, which are all required for communicating at college and post-graduation levels. Students must independently expand their vocabulary knowledge by working to comprehend unknown expressions and terms.

What Types of Question Are on the FSA Reading Test?

Students taking the ELA Reading FSA assessment may be asked to respond to several types of question, often presented in conjunction with a reading passage. These questions are called Technology Enhanced Items (TEIs). They are interactive questions, requiring students to move, select, or construct the correct answer. There are eight types of TEI that may appear on any FSA ELA Reading test:

  1. Editing Task Choice Item – The student must correct a highlighted word or phrase by choosing from a drop-down menu on the computer or by circling the correct choice on the paper answer sheet.
  2. Editing Task Item – The student clicks on a phrase or word that is highlighted on the screen and is marked as incorrect. The student must then type the correct word or phrase, or he or she can choose to leave the text unchanged if no correction is necessary. Paper-based tests present students with a variation of the computer test, allowing them to write out the correct phrase in the paragraph.
  3. Hot Text Item – The student is presented with either Selectable Hot Text questions or with Drag-and-Drop Hot Text questions. With Selectable Hot Text questions, the student must hover the mouse over a certain text in the paragraph to be presented with questions on that highlighted text. With Drag-and-Drop Hot Text questions, the student must drag and drop the correct text into the correct place. Both these Hot-Text items also appear in paper-based formats: the student is presented with a selection of answer options and invited to circle the correct answer.
  4. Open Response Item – The student must answer a question in one or two complete sentences within the space, usually an answer box, provided either onscreen or on paper.
  5. Multiselect Items – The student must choose a specified number of answers that he or she thinks best responds to the question. Answer options are presented either in a list or in a paragraph, and either online or on paper.
  6. Evidence-Based Selected Response (EBSR) – The student must use the passage to answer Part A and Part B. Usually, Part A is a multiple-choice question and Part B is either multi-select or multiple-choice. One part requires the student to make an inference, while the other requires him or her to choose a supporting statement for an argument.
  7. Graphic Response Item Display (GRID) – The student must use a drag-and-drop feature to move phrases, words, or images and arrange them in the requested format. The paper-based test offers another TEI of the same standard, which is paper-friendly.
  8. Multimedia – The student must interact with multimedia, such as animations, slideshows, and audio clips. Then, any TEI may be presented requiring the student to assess the multimedia and provide an answer. Paper-based assessments offer modifications of the multimedia and assess the student to the same standard. Audio clips may still be included on the paper-based assessment for grades 4 to 10.

FSA ELA Practice Tests

The FSA ELA assessments may be hard, but studying for tests can be even harder! TestPrep-Online recognizes this and offers engaging, child-friendly practice tests, ideal for preparing for the FSA ELA assessments. Whatever test your child is due to take, we offer a variety of different practice packs, filled with questions and answers, study guides, and helpful information.

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