1st 2013 FCAT results show improved writing scores

3rd-grade reading, math results almost unchanged from last year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first results of Florida's comprehensive assessment tests show improved writing scores statewide, but third-fourth graders' reading and math scores were mostly flat from last year.

The Florida Department of Education released FCAT 2.0 reading and math scores for the youngest elementary grade tested, along with writing scores for fourth-, eighth- and 10th-grades on Friday morning.

Those results show 58 percent of students in grades four, eight and 10 scored at or above a 3.5, the standard used for school grades. That's an increase of 4 percentage points over the previous school year.

However, less than two-thirds of Florida's third grade students are performing at a satisfactory level in math and reading on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. There was a 1 percent increase in reading scores over last year and no improvement in math.

DIG DEEPER ONLINE: 3rd-grade reading, math cores for N.E. Florida counties |
FDOE interactive results database | Statewide writing score comparisons

"Over the past two years, Florida teachers and students have made incredible gains," Gov. Rick Scott said. "Florida fourth graders are among the best in the world for reading."

The state says results show continued upward climb as the state prepares for the more rigorous Common Core State Standards.

"Our students, parents and teachers have worked very hard this year and I'm pleased to see more students achieving at higher levels," said Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett. "Our teachers do a fantastic job every day to prepare students for college and careers. We will celebrate our gains and use these results to continue to work every day to improve.

In Duval County, third-grade reading and math scores each slipped 1 point, while writing scores increased in both the fourth and 10th grades and remained flat in the eighth grade.

"The challenge will be that the state increased what they define as proficiency as compared to last year, so, as an overall percentage for school grades, we may see a drop in that area," Vitti said. "But on an individual level, we saw increases across the board."

There were double-digit increases in reading proficiency scores at Picket, Garden City, Cedar Hills, Kite and Hyde Grove elementary schools and double-digit gains in math scores at John Love, Ramona Boulevard, Garden City, Brentwood, Lake Forest and Pickett elementary schools.

In Clay County, the percentage of third-graders scoring at Level 3 or above exceeded the state average by 12 percent.

The only "D" school in Clay County last year -- Grove Park Elementary -- improved its' reading score by 10 percent and its math score by 22 percent.

"I am especially proud of their hard work as evidenced by their student achievement gains," said Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr.

Results for other grades levels, as well as science FCATs and end-of-course exams are due out in early June.