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2013 FCAT Reports Show Growth In Writing, But Stagnation In Reading And Math

The Florida Department of Education has released the 2013 FCAT reports for reading, writing and math and the news is a mixed bag. Students made big gains over last year’s disastrous writing test, but results in reading and math were stagnant.

Teachers put the blame for last year’s poor writing test results on a lack of training.  They accused the Department of Education for failing to communicate its expectations. Now the Department’s Pam Stewart says the issues have been addressed:

 “We did our due diligence and provided specific training to all districts. What students need to be writing how they need to be writing.”

Fifty-eight percent of reading and math test takers earning a proficient score. That’s unchanged from last year. The stagnation could negatively impact school grades. Education officials are also concerned because student learning expectations are increasing in the next few years as tougher learning standards, called the Common Core continue to be put in place through 2016.

Students in Leon and surrounding counties struggled in reading and writing but some bested state averages in math. Wakulla County’s scores in 3rd grade reading and math FCAT exams were about 10-points higher than the state averages of 57 and 58 percent. Leon County’s scores were 1-2 points higher.

“There’s not going to be a big movement either way on these test scores and that’s why it’s so important you continue to improve," said Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons."In writing, 21/24 of our schools either maintained their level of writing or improved it at the elementary level, so we’re very proud of that.”           

Only Leon County was able to match the statewide passing rate of 57 percent for the writing exam.  Jefferson County however, continues to struggle. Some 22 percent of its 3rd graders are at-risk of being held back because of a poor showing on the reading test.

You can view the full report by the Florida Department of Education here.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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