The percentage of Florida third graders passing the state’s FCAT math and reading exams did not improve this year — remaining largely flat for the past three years — according to initial test results released Friday.
Fifty-seven percent of third graders scored at least a 3, the state’s passing score, on the reading test. On the math exam, 58 percent of third graders scored a least a 3. The reading and math tests are on a scale of one to five points.
The percentage of third graders at risk for being held back rose slightly, to 19 percent.
Florida law requires third graders scoring a 1 on the reading test be held back. Those students can still advance to fourth grade based on other test results or a portfolio of their work.
Writing scores were mixed. A higher percentage of eighth and tenth graders passed the writing exam this year. Fifty-six percent of eighth graders and 64 percent of 10th graders passed the exam, an increase of two percentage points in both grades.
But fewer fourth graders passed the exam this year, down to 53 percent from 57 percent. Stewart said fourth grade students had to write an argument this year, rather than last year’s narrative task.
Students had to score a 3.5 out of a possible six points to pass the writing exam.
“I am very pleased that our students are making steady progress,” Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said during a conference call, “As we continue to transition to more rigorous standards.”
Florida is one of 44 states switching to new standards based on Common Core. Florida schools will use the new standards in every grade this fall.
Along with the new standards will come a new test. The test is expected to be more difficult, and a lower percentage of students are expected to pass the exam when it is given for the first time next year.
Check out the results at the Florida Department of Education website.