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Pinellas FCAT writing scores improve
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PINELLAS COUNTY - Pinellas County Schools’ students improved in overall Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Writing scores released April 30 by the state Department of Education.

The results include only the traditional essay scores, according to a press release from the Pinellas County School District.

The multiple-choice items used in previous years for the Writing scale scores and achievement levels were discontinued this year by the Florida DOE. Standard curriculum students scoring at 3.5 or above on a scale of 1-6 on the essay are counted as meeting the high standards requirement of the A+ School Grading system.

“We are celebrating the scores our students earned this year,” said Superintendent Julie M. Janssen. “Writing is an essential component in the teaching of literacy and supports reading, so we are pleased that the percentage of our students who scored at 3.5 or above increased this year in all three grade levels tested.”

Statewide, fourth-graders’ overall scores were up eight points, eighth-graders rose two points while 10th-graders fell one point from their 2008 levels.

Pinellas County fourth-graders increased eight percentage points, the percentage of students earning a 3.5 or above from 77 percent in 2008 to 85 percent in 2009. This increase was the same as the state’s level of increase.

Sixty-five Pinellas elementary schools increased the percentage of students scoring a 3.5 or higher on the FCAT Writing assessment. Thirty-one elementary schools had substantial improvements, scoring 10 percentage points or more than in the previous year. Some of the biggest elementary gains were:

- Bardmoor: 92 percent, up 46 percentage points from 2008.

- Rio Vista: 93 percent, up 32 percentage points from 2008.

- Sawgrass Lake: 96 percent, up 28 percentage points from 2008.

These three elementary schools plus Dunedin (up 25 percentage points), Sexton (up 26 percentage points) and Woodlawn (up 21 percentage points) did not make Adequate Year Progress (AYP) in 2008.

Pinellas County eighth-graders showed a 2 percent point improvement from 2008 to 2009 on the essay section of the FCAT Writing assessment. Pinellas eighth-graders improved from 88 percent at 3.5 and above in 2008 to 90 percent at 3.5 and above in 2009. The increase in eighth-grade scores was the same level as the state.

Thirteen middle schools increased their percentage of students scoring a 3.5 or higher on the FCAT Writing assessment.

The largest middle school percentage improvements were:

- Oak Grove: 93 percent, up 8 percentage points from 2008.

- Largo: 92 percent, up 6 percentage points from 2008.

- Meadowlawn: 90 percent, up 8 percentage points from 2008.

Coachman Fundamental Middle had 100 percent of their eighth-graders score a 3.5 or higher.

Pinellas 10th-grade students increased by one percent their performance on the FCAT Writing assessment. Pinellas was the only one of the large districts in the state to show any increase in the 10th-grade Writing percent of students at 3.5 and above.

In eight of the district’s high schools, 10th-graders showed an increase in their scores on the FCAT Writing assessment. The top three schools were:

-Boca Ciega: 76 percent, up 11 percentage points from 2008.

- Lakewood: 76 percent, up 7 percentage points from 2008.

Three additional high schools went up 4 percentage points from 2008.
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