Duval County's state test results show signs of improvement

Biggest gain? 9 points in 6th grade math; biggest loss? 15-point drop in civics

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Newly released statewide standardized testing results are a mixed bag for Duval County Public Schools.

The results, released Friday by the Florida Department of Education, show signs of improvement for the school district in 11 of 21 tested categories.

By far, the district’s biggest success story was sixth grade mathematics where students’ scores were nine points higher than last year’s. Its sharpest decline was in end-of-course civics exams.

“Overall, I am pleased with the progress these scores represent. To move forward in a majority of areas in a year of leadership transition is encouraging. For the most part, our focus on academics is showing results,” Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said in a statement.

In sixth grade mathematics, 51 percent of students received test scores at Level 3 or above in 2019, trailing the statewide average by four points. That’s compared to just 42 percent of students who had the same level of achievement in 2018.

Scores in end-of-course civics exams plunged from 84 percent in 2018 to 69 percent in 2019, or two points behind the statewide average. Last year, the district saw an 18-point increase in the same area.

The district said this year’s decline was not unexpected because of last year’s gain, which resulted from a delay in testing that gave students an additional year and course to prepare.

As such, 2019’s score still represents a net gain of three points over 2017’s figure.

The district also saw scores diminish by seven points in fifth grade science. Aside from that and civics, seven other test areas suffered, including fifth grade math and reading, seventh grade math, eighth grading reading and science, and tenth grade reading and algebra.

There were notable improvements in end-of-course exams for biology, geometry and U.S. history, as well as fourth grade mathematics, plus minor gains in reading for grades three, four, six and seven, as well as math scores for grades three and eight.

"Science and grade five are areas we need to evaluate," Greene said. "We’ll analyze this data closely, bring our instructional team together and adapt for even better results next year."