Pasco students show gains in FCAT scores
LAND O’ LAKES - Pasco County students are getting better at writing, but a large percentage still has work to do. Meanwhile, third-graders saw their reading and math scores inch up slightly, based on Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0 scores released last week. Students in all three grades that take the FCAT 2.0 writing exam showed improvement over last year. Writing test scores range from 1 to 6, with 3.5 considered proficient.In Pasco, 53 percent of fourth-graders reached that level, up from 41 percent a year ago. For eighth-graders, 48 percent were proficient, up from 47 percent last year. Meanwhile, 63 percent of 10th-graders were proficient, up from 57 percent. Despite those gains, the fourth-graders and eighth-graders still trailed their peers across the state. Florida proficiency averages were 57 percent for fourth-graders, 54 percent for eighth-graders and 62 percent for 10th-graders. The state also last week released reading and math FCAT 2.0 scores for third-grade. Those third-grade scores are released earlier than reading and math scores for other grades because the reading exam can determine whether students are promoted to the fourth grade. In Pasco, 59 percent of third-graders scored at the reading proficiency level of 3, which is up 2 percentage points from a year ago. But 18 percent scored at the lowest level, putting roughly 900 third-graders districtwide at risk of having to repeat the grade. If past years are a guide, about 30 percent to 40 percent of those students will still be promoted because the state allows for other ways to move up to fourth-grade. The district will hold a summer reading camp for those struggling third-graders, beginning June 18. At the end of the camp, the students are given another standardized test, and if they score well enough they are promoted. Teachers also keep student portfolios and can use them to show a student is proficient in reading and should be promoted. The state also allows several exemptions. For example, some students with disabilities or who speak another language and are still learning English can be promoted with the low FCAT score. The percentage of students who could end up repeating the grade varies greatly from school to school, ranging as low as 2 percent at Dayspring Academy, a charter school in Port Richey, to as high as 41 percent at Cox Elementary in Dade City. Statewide, 57 percent of third-graders scored at the proficiency level of 3 or higher in reading, and 18 percent scored at the lowest level. In math, 51 percent of third-graders scored at the proficiency level of 3 or higher, up from 50 percent last year. That’s well-below the state average of 58 percent proficient in math. “We have significant work to do in math,” Superintendent Kurt Browning said in a prepared statement.