Statewide FCAT Reading, Math Scores Remain Stagnant
Around the State
Friday marked the beginning of the end for the FCAT test, with a release of the scores from the Florida Department of Education showing the statewide passing rate for third-grade reading and math remaining unchanged from last year.
In the statewide reading test, 57 percent of Florida’s students passed, the same percentage of students who passed the test last year. The percentage of students who received a score of 1, the lowest score possible on the FCAT, rose slightly from last year’s 18 percent to 19 percent in 2014.
A slightly higher number of students took the test this year, however. According to the results, more third-graders took the FCAT this year than any previous year -- 210,000 in 2014 vs. 206,000 last year.
Executive Director of the Foundation for Florida's Future Patricia Levesque applauded the slight closing of the achievement gap -- Hispanic students made a one percentage point increase in the number of students scoring proficient or above while African-American students made a percentage point increase in the number of students scoring proficient or above -- but said there's still work to be done.
"The leveling of scores we're seeing particularly in third-grade reading and math should spur action," said Levesque. "Our students are not yet where they need to be to reach their full potential, and we need to do everything we can to give students the boost they need. Reading, math, and writing skills in Florida should be given support and attention from every level of our education system, and from our local communities to help our kids rise to the higher levels they are capable of achieving."
In the math portion of the test, Miami-Dade County outperformed the statewide average, with 62 percent of its third-graders passing the test. When it came to reading, however, Miami-Dade scored slightly lower than the statewide pass rate, with 56 percent passing.
Hillsborough County third-graders performed slightly better than the statewide rate on the reading test, with 59 percent passing. But the district underperformed on the math test, with a pass rate of 56 percent.
Duval County scored several points lower on the reading test by 6 percent, with a little over half -- 51 percent -- of its third-graders passing that portion of the FCAT. In math, Duval fared somewhat better, with 57 percent passing.
Writing scores for fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders were also released Friday. Fourth-grade writing scores saw a drop of 4 percent, down to a 53 percent pass rate. Eighth- and 10th-grade writing scores increased, however, to 56 percent and 64 percent, respectively.
The release of scores is somewhat bittersweet.
Next year, the test Florida has been so closely acquainted with for the past 16 years will finally be replaced by a new assessment test. The new test, developed by testing company American Institutes for Research, will be more closely aligned to the Florida Standards and Common Core.
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart seemed hopeful for the future of Florida's students with the new test.
"I am confident that with new standards and assessments next year replacing the FCAT, our students will continue to succeed," she said.
The contents of the test have not yet been determined.