JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

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)
Reading
(achievement level 3 and above)
Mathematics
(achievement level 3 and above)
201220132014201220132014
BAKER
66 65 64 70 71 67 
BRADFORD
44 48 57 38 45 46 
CLAY
68 69 66 68 65 64 
COLUMBIA
60 60 62 59 60 61 
DUVAL
51 55 51 56 56 57 
FLAGLER
62 68 65 62 58 63 
NASSAU
66 69 73 65 67 73 
PUTNAM
43 48 48 50 45 51 
ST. JOHNS
75 76 76 73 71 73 
UNION
64 59 51 74 73 73 


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 levelWriting essay (3.5 and above)
 201220132014
BAKER
438 41 44 
851 41 60 
1057 65 55 
BRADFORD
440 46 48 
839 25 47 
1028 28 56 
CLAY
448 51 41 
848 43 47 
1062 56 68 
COLUMBIA
453 52 48 
850 31 46 
1050 37 52 
DUVAL
442 54 45 
850 53 54 
1063 68 65 
FLAGLER
459 63 63 
844 49 59 
1060 57 63 
NASSAU
455 61 60 
862 62 58 
1052 55 72 
PUTNAM
442 45 40 
842 37 39 
1042 44 44 
ST. JOHNS
458 67 51 
860 61 65 
1065 66 73 
UNION
459 81 69 
863 47 59 
1063 54 76 


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.