CLEARWATER – The first round of test scores are in for the last year of the Florida 2.0 Comprehensive Assessment Tests. Pinellas County Schools on average performed about the same as last year in third-grade reading and math as well as eighth-grade writing. Pinellas students fell a bit in fourth- and tenth-grade writing.
Statewide, 57 percent of third-grader passed the reading exam, which is the same as last year, and 58 percent of third-graders passed the math exam, which is the same as last year. For writing, an average of 53 percent of Florida fourth-graders passed the test, which was up from 57 percent in 2013; 56 percent of Florida eighth-graders passed, up from 54 percent in 2013; and 64 percent of the state’s tenth-graders passed, up from 62 percent last year.
Pinellas third-graders were below the state averages, with 55 percent passing the reading test, down from 56 percent in 2013, though Pinellas third-graders rose a percentage point to 49 percent in math. In writing, Pinellas fourth-graders dropped from 60 to 51 percent of students passing, which is lower than the state average, and the fourth-graders rose one percent to 55 percent, so slightly higher than the state average. Pinellas tenth-graders dropped from 67 to 61 percent in writing, coming in just under the state average.
However, district-wide, there were eight elementary schools, including three that were deemed “turnaround schools,” that showed double-digit increases in the fourth-grade writing test, according to a district press release. These include Melrose Elementary, Mildred Helms Elementary and Dunedin Elementary, with 14, 13, and 10 percentage points gained, respectively. Also, Tyrone Middle and Azalea Middle improved significantly on the eight-grade writing assessment, with 21- and 13-percentage point gains, respectively. Additionally, two elementary “turnaround” schools showed significant gains in third-grade reading and math. Ponce de Leon Elementary jumped 18 percent in reading and 28 percent in math, while Pinellas Park Elementary improved 16 percent in reading and 14 percent in math.
“I’m very proud of all of our educators and students who worked so hard to improve their scores,” said Michael A. Grego, Pinellas County Superintendant. “I know that our schools were especially focused this past year, expanding strategies that worked well last year. We will continue to excel and pursue instructional excellence, not only on testing days, but every day of the school year.”
Next year all Florida schools will switch to the Common Core Standards and no longer have the FCATs.