Access to high-quality education is a fundamental value provided to Florida’s students through the Florida Constitution. It is in the best interest of all Floridians to give our children the B.E.S.T., Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking, an education fully preparing them for success. Florida leaders have a duty to ensure students are prepared to be civically engaged and knowledgeable citizens who positively impact our communities.
To reach these goals, Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards for Mathematics were developed with input from thousands of Floridians and countless hours of work from dedicated Florida educational leaders and mathematics teachers. Through this work, Florida’s leaders are sending a strong, clear message that they are unwilling to be complacent. Our students are capable of unprecedented success. It is our responsibility to implement the infrastructure necessary to help them thrive.
High-quality academic standards are the foundation of a high-quality system to which assessments and instructional materials must be aligned. With these new and improved standards, Florida builds on past strengths and learns from past lessons. Built on the foundations of reading, writing, and arithmetic, our state standards are the B.E.S.T. in the nation.
Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards for Mathematics reflect the concerns of parents, feedback from stakeholders and the practical experience of teachers. These new standards will lay the foundation for higher quality instructional materials, streamlined assessments, and ultimately high school graduates fully prepared for the responsibilities associated with American citizenship.
Throughout this year-long process of evaluating, listening, rethinking and ultimately rewriting Florida’s standards, the Department engaged numerous stakeholders, including many educators, repeatedly, through a multi-faceted public input process. The success of this process was rooted therein, in the collective thought and input of many Floridians who held student-centered results close to heart. Therefore, in addition to the B.E.S.T. standards herein, it is also recommended that this review process be repeated every seven years, if not sooner.
Development of Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards for Mathematics
The development of these standards and benchmarks is based upon Executive Order 19-32 issued by Governor Ron DeSantis on January 31, 2019. Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards for Mathematics were written by workgroups consisting of Florida mathematics teacher experts. The teacher experts represent the individuals in Florida who have leadership roles in K-12 mathematics and the Florida College System. Throughout the development of the standards and benchmarks, the workgroups were focused on writing standards and benchmarks that are clear, concise and provide enough guidance so that districts, test developers, publishers and other related stakeholders are able to align curriculum, instruction and assessment. The mathematics teacher expert workgroups drew on the work of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM); expectations from national and international assessments such as ACT, SAT, NAEP and TIMSS; comments from public and specialty stakeholders and feedback from national mathematics and standards experts.
Changes and Improvements:
Simplicity: There is less emphasis now on students using multiple strategies just for the sake of multiple strategies. Parents will better understand their children’s work in mathematics.
Practicality: Statements that were unnecessarily complicated, or too difficult to implement, are streamlined. Statements are more focused now on the learning goal, with less verbiage than before about the means to get there.
Specificity: Florida’s B.E.S.T. Standards for Mathematics 9-12 are organized in a way that allows for multiple pathways for the students of Florida.
Guiding Principles for Change
High Expectations: Florida’s B.E.S.T. standards were designed to provide students with a world class education. These standards maintain high expectations for Florida’s students, ensuring equity and access for all.
Clarity: Florida’s B.E.S.T. standards were written to provide clear and concise language for students, parents, and educators. Clarifications were included to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the intentions of the benchmarks and to increase transparency of expectations.
Alignment: Florida’s B.E.S.T. standards are a consistent progression of mathematical strands, ensuring vertical alignment across grade levels and horizontal alignment at the course level.