More Florida students passed the state’s final exams for algebra, biology, geometry and U.S. history, according to test results released Monday.
The tests, known as end-of-course exams, are required by state law. Students must pass the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam to graduate high school.
State leaders were pleased with the results.
“I think that is just a testimony to the great work that’s being done in our districts and in our schools and in our classrooms,” said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.
The biggest improvement was on the U.S. History exam. Two-thirds of students passed the exam on their first attempt, an increase of 10 percentage points. Stewart said the increase might be because students enrolled in Advanced Placement history classes took the test to earn the state’s new scholar designation on their diploma.
On the required algebra test, 65 percent of students taking the test for the first time passed — and increase of one percentage point. But ninth graders are the largest group of students taking the algebra test, and the percentage of high school freshmen passing the exam held steady at 52 percent.
Pinellas County schools are among Florida districts offering summer programs to help ninth graders prepare for the algebra course.
Education officials said the state’s new Common Core-based math standards will mean changes for the algebra exam next year. The exam is expected to be more difficult, and state education officials said will add an emphasis on “modeling,” or tying problems to real-world situations.