A little over half of third-grade public school students in Florida scored at passing levels on Florida's standardized exam in math and reading -- the Florida Compressive Assessment Test that is slated to be replaced next year by a new assessment.
According to data released Friday by the Florida Department of Education, 57 percent of third graders scored at a level 3 or higher in on the 2014 FCAT exam -- the same as the previous year. Fifty-eight percent reached the passing score in math, also unchanged from 2013.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, however, said she was not discouraged by the results.
"I really believe that it's encouraging our students have maintained the gains previously made," she said.
Reading and math scores grew in Bradford, Columbia and Nassau counties and math scores increased in Duval, Flagler and St. Johns counties. However, both measurements were lower in Baker and Clay counties and reading scores dropped in Duval, Flagler and Union counties. (See chart below)
|Third grade percentage passing (satisfactory and above)|
(achievement level 3 and above)
(achievement level 3 and above)
The FCAT writing results also released Friday showed continuing disparities in performance by race and English language proficiency.
Seventy percent of white students reached a passing level 3 or higher on the reading exam, compared to 52 percent of Hispanic students and 39 percent of black students. Nineteen percent of students designated "English language learners" achieved a passing reading score.
Among Northeast Florida students, writing scores increased significantly among the majority of students, but there were significant drops among 10th-graders in Baker County, fourth-graders in Clay, Duval, Putnam, St. Johns and counties and eighth-graders in Nassau County. (Full chart below)
|Writing FCAT results by district (Percentage passing)|
|Grade level||Writing essay (3.5 and above)|
FDOE Database: Search by district for individual schools
Duval County fourth-graders, like those throughout the state, did not adjust well to the shift from a narrative to an expository prompt, resulting in declines. But Duval third-grader's improvement in math outperformed the state and writing scores in 10th-grade outperformed the state average.
"Several of our schools are celebrating today, with gains achieved in different areas," said Duval Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. "While I'm optimistic about these improvements, particularly in the area of third-grade mathematics, I am eager to implement our new reading intervention plan for next year at the elementary level."
Lake Lucini, Windy Hill, Chimney Lakes and Hyde Park elementary schools each earned double-digit gains in both reading and math. Fourth-grade writing scores at John Love, Hyde Grove, Martin Luther King, S.P. Livingston, Pickett, Pinedale, Ramona Boulevard, Timucuana, Carter Woodson and White House elementary schools also saw double-digit increases, as did Fletcher, John E. Ford, Ribault and Eugene Butler middle schools and Ribault High School.
Next year, a new assessment will replace the FCAT. The test, based on the state's version of nationwide Common Core standards for mathematics and English language arts, will stress a broader approach for student learning, including an increased emphasis on analytical thinking. A new standardized test based on the new standards is being developed.