The state Department of Education on Friday released the rest of the FCAT scores along with end-of course assessments.
The scores for FCATs in Broward and Palm Beach counties were mixed, showing slight improvements in some areas and drops in others. Overall, the biggest gains in the state were made in end-of-course exams for biology and geometry, officials said.
- READING, MATH: Search our 2013 FCAT database for reading, math results
- ALGEBRA, BIOLOGY, GEOMETRY: Search our database
- SCIENCE: Search our database
- WRITING: Click here search our 2013 FCAT database for writing results
Commissioner of Education Tony Bennett called the results "a mixed bag."
On one hand, "there are substantial gains that we should be happy about," Bennett said.
On the other hand, the "FCAT results are flat, and I find that personally unacceptable," he said.
The end-of-course exams help determine whether high-schoolers can earn their diplomas, as students are required to pass Algebra I and FCAT reading.
The FCATs, or Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Tests, are used to measure teaching and learning in schools. These scores help determine a school's grade (from A to F) that are given by the state. They will also tie in to teacher evaluations and eventually their pay.
Results released Friday were for tests that included end-of-course exams in Algebra I, Geometry, Biology I and U.S. History, and FCAT reading tests for grades 4 through 10, math exams for grades 4 through 8 and science tests for fifth- and eighth-graders.
FCATS are scored on a five-point scale, with students having to earn a 3 or higher to be considered proficient.
Fourth-graders in Palm Beach County did slightly better in math this year, with 64 percent proficient (compared with 62 percent last year) but reading proficiency scores were flat at 61 percent.
Fourth-graders in Broward dipped in reading this year, with only 59 percent showing proficiency versus 62 percent last year. Scores stayed flat with 63 percent of students passing math, the same as last year.
In Palm Beach County, fifth-grade proficiency scores in reading (61 percent) and math (57 percent) were the exact same as last year.
Cholee Lake Elementary School in Greenacres received disappointing news when third grade scores came out two weeks ago, as reading scores went down. But fourth and fifth grade scores gave teachers and staff reason to celebrate. This year 56 percent of fourth graders were proficient in reading, up from 43 percent last year. Math proficiency increased from 64 percent to 75 percent. Fifth graders made slightly smaller gains. Principal Jacqueline Perkins is optimistic it could bring the B-rated school up to an A.
“We’re really, really happy,” Principal Jacqueline Perkins said. “I’m confident we’re going to get a good grade. I don’t want to jump the gun, but we’re hoping for an A.”
In Broward, scores dipped for fifth-graders in both math and reading. Only 57 percent of students were proficient in math compared with 61 percent last year and in reading 60 percent scored satisfactory versus 61 percent last year.
Sixth-grade reading scores in Palm Beach County went up slightly from last year, rising from 56 percent to 59 percent, and down in math, decreasing from 56 percent to 54 percent.
In Broward, sixth-grade reading scores went up a notch to 60 percent proficient compared with 58 percent last year. Results decreased in math with 55 percent proficiency versus 56 percent last year.
Seventh-grade reading proficiency in Palm Beach County went up one point to 59 percent, while math proficiency dropped a point to 60 percent.
Broward showed a big drop in math scores for seventh-graders to 53 percent, compared with 60 percent last year. In reading, scores also dropped two percentage points to 58 percent proficiency.
For Palm Beach County eighth-graders, reading proficiency was 59 percent, the same as last year, while math proficiency made a big drop from last year, from 67 percent to 61 percent.
In Broward, there was a slight rise in reading FCAT scores from 57 percent last year to 59 percent this year. In math, end-of-course Algebra proficiency rates also rose to 95 percent compared with 94 percent last year. FCAT math scores, however, dropped from 63 percent last year to 48 percent this year.
Only five schools in Broward showed improvements in the math FCAT, with every other school's score declining.
The dramatic dip in math scores are most likely because Broward decided not to double test students taking advanced courses. The state no longer requires students taking high school level math classes such as Algebra I and Geometry to take their grade level FCAT because they already have to take end-of-course exams to get credit for the advanced class.
In Palm Beach County, advanced level students were allowed to individually opt out of taking the FCAT.
"Typically the [students] that are sitting in the Algebra and Geometry are the highest performing," said Mark Kaplan, principal at Falcon Cove Middle in Weston. "You’re more than likely going to see some dips."
The school saw a drop in eighth-grade FCAT math scores from 89 percent proficiency last year to 82 percent proficiency. It still remained one of the highest scores in the district.
"You can always strive for 100 percent but as long as students are showing growth that’s most important," said Kaplan.
High school students take FCAT reading, but not math, as that’s measured by end-of-course exams. Students must pass Algebra end-of-course exams and the 10th-grade reading FCAT to graduate.
Overall, in Broward, 66 percent of students passed the Algebra end-of-course compared with 60 percent last year.
Northeast High School in Oakland Park saw gains across the board -- in both FCAT reading scores and end-of-course exams.
"I’m happy that we did better but that doesn’t change the fact that we have work to do," said principal Jonathan Williams.
The school had a 6 percent boost for ninth-grade Algebra I end-of-course exams and an 8 percent boost in 10th-grade.
"It’s put us in a lot better position to improve our letter grade because we’ve done better on the student achievement piece," said Williams, adding that he expected a spike in graduation rates as well.
For ninth-graders in Palm Beach County, the proficiency rate in reading was 55 percent, up from 53 percent last year. About 57 percent were proficient on the spring algebra end-of-course exam, up from 44 percent last year.
Broward ninth-graders had a 53 percent proficiency rating in reading, up from 51 percent last year. In the Algebra I end-of-course exam, 61 percent of students were proficient compared with 57 percent last year.
The biggest FCAT gains for Palm Beach County came in 10th-grade reading, up from 54 percent proficiency to 58 percent. About 35 percent of sophomores did well on the spring end-of-Course algebra exam, up from 27 percent last year.
Reading scores for Broward's 10th-graders rose to 52 percent from 49 percent. However, scores remained stagnant in Algebra I, with 22 percent of students proficient, same as last year.
Broward's 11th-graders showed some of the biggest improvements in end-of-course exams for Algebra, with 33 percent scoring proficient, compared to 24 percent last year.
Senior scores in Broward for the Algebra end-of-course exams stayed flat, 31 percent of students scored proficient.
Comparative scores for Geometry and Biology end-of-course exams will be released next week.
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