TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A little more than half of third-grade students scored at passing levels on Florida's standardized exam in math and reading.
Florida Department of Education announced Friday, 57% of third graders scored at a level 3 or higher in 2014, the same as the previous year and 58% reached the passing score in math, also unchanged from 2013.
Florida students must score a level two or higher in reading on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in order to advance to the next grade.
According to reports, 19% scored a level one in 2014, though it was still unknown exactly how many of those students would be retained.
This year marks the last administration of the FCAT. Students will take a new exam aligned with the Common Core standards next year.
Bradford County improved from 2013 in all five assessment areas announced Friday. Third grade students improved nine percentage points in reading, and one percentage point in mathematics. In writing, eighth grade students moved up 22 percentage points and tenth graders jumped 28 percentage points.
Columbia County improved from 2013 in four of the five assessment areas announced Friday. Both eighth and tenth grade students improved an impressive 15 percentage points in writing. For third grade, students moved up two percentage points in reading and one percentage point in mathematics.
Flagler County improved from 2013 in three of the five assessment areas released Friday, while maintaining performance in Grade 4 writing. Grade 8 writing scores increased 10 percentage points and Grade 10 writing improved six percentage points. Grade 3 mathematics scores increased five percentage points.
St. Johns County ranked first in the state in third-grade FCAT Reading. Seventy-six percent of third graders were proficient compared to 57 percent for the state and was tied for first in the state in third-grade FCAT Math. Seventy-three percent of third graders were proficient compared to 58 percent for the state. On FCAT Writes, 10th-grade students ranked second in the state, while eighth-grade students ranked seventh. Fourth graders were at 51 percent proficient which is lower than the state average of 53 percent. Eighth graders were at 65 percent proficient with the state at 56 percent, and 10th graders were 73 percent proficient with the state at 64 percent.
"I am very proud of the hard work and efforts by our students, teachers, school administration, parents and district staff," said St. Johns County School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph Joyner. The upward trend in third grade reading and math assessments is encouraging. This is reflective of the increased rigor and expectations as we prepare to administer a new state assessment for these subject areas next year. I am also pleased by our increase in FCAT writing scores in eighth and 10th grades, and I would be remiss in not addressing the unexpected drop in fourth-grade scores resulting in a decreased ranking from second place in the state to 28th place," stated Joyner. "While we are still reviewing these scores throughout the district, we are simultaneously working on a plan to ensure that this disparity is corrected and students will be well prepared for next year's assessment."
Florida's recent academic gains have received national attention. The Sunshine State jumped from 11th to 6th in the nation for educational quality in 2013. Florida has the highest graduation rate in the nation for Hispanic students. In the past decade, the number of Florida graduates participating in AP courses has more than doubled, and the number of low-income graduates taking AP has increased tenfold. And Florida's graduation rate is 75.6% for 2012-13 - an increase of 1.1 percentage points over the prior year and up five percentage points since 2010-11.