Written by Beth O'Donnell, Asst. Superintendent for Instruction Saturday, 26 May 2012 08:48
Wakulla County School District third grade students came in tied for first in the region and fifth in the state for their Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) Reading scores recently released by the Florida Department of Education.
Of the nine districts in the region consisting of Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Liberty, Franklin, Madison, Calhoun, and Taylor, Wakulla third graders came in tied for first place in Reading with Calhoun County.
The state average for third grade Reading was 56% proficient at Level 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 6. Wakulla students came in at 68% proficient, which is defined as on or above grade level.
“Although we were geared up to expect more students needing remediation this summer due to a tougher FCAT test coupled with raised cut scores, there are only seven more students who will need to attend the Third Grade Summer Reading Camp, an increase of only two percent over last year,” stated Superintendent David Miller. “Our teachers and students continue to rise to the challenges of tougher standards and controversial cut score changes.”
Third grade is a high stakes testing area as Florida law deems it the only mandatory retention grade for students scoring a Level 1 in Reading who do not qualify for state exemptions. Each district must offer those students a Summer Reading Camp where they work on skills and take another test at the end of summer school or show their proficiency on specific portfolio lessons.
In addition to Reading, third grade FCAT Math scores, plus high school End of Course (EOC) exam scores for Biology and Geometry were released May 24 in this second wave of scores sent to districts.
In Math, Wakulla third graders came in at 64% proficient, exceeding the state figure of 58% proficient. Of the nine county region, Wakulla came in third. In the state, they were eleventh.
Wakulla High School students took new End of Course (EOC) exams designed to take the place of FCAT Math and Science because they are more specific to the standards in each course. The first year each EOC is given, it counts 30% of the student’s grade, depending on when he or she started ninth grade. After that, students must pass the EOC for each course in order to earn credit in the class.
EOC scores released May 24 were divided into the top third, the middle third, and the bottom third.
On the Biology EOC, 79% of Wakulla High tenth graders scored in the top two-thirds compared to 66% for the state. Their mean scale score put them second in the region and third in the state.
On the Geometry EOC, 74% of Wakulla High ninth and tenth graders scored in the top two-thirds compared to 65% for the state. Their mean scale score put them second in the region and fifth in the state.
Still to be released are scores for FCAT Reading and Math in grades four through eight, and FCAT Science scores in grades five and eight. Also, Algebra I EOC scores are coming for students in grades eight and nine. This is the second year of the Algebra I EOC, so it must be passed in order to earn high school credit. The Algebra I EOC will be offered additional times throughout high school for students who do not pass on the first try.
“There have been more changes in a shorter amount of time to prepare teachers and students than in any other year I can think of,” observed Miller of his 39 years in education. “We want what is best for our students, so we will continue to provide them with the skills they need to be competitive with any student from any other district, state, or country.”
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