SEBRING — FCAT results released Friday show a wide variation of scores among the district’s elementary schools and the district trailing the state in most areas.
On the third-grade FCAT 2.0 Reading, the percentage of students who scored in level three or above was 57 percent statewide, 50 percent in Highlands County and 59 percent in Hardee County. The test scores fall into five levels of achievement with level three considered “on grade level.”
Avon Elementary led the Highlands County school district with 61 percent and Memorial Elementary was the lowest with 37 percent of its students scoring in level three or above in third-grade reading.
On the third-grade FCAT 2.0 Math, the percentage of students who scored in level three or above was 58 percent statewide, 56 percent in Highlands County and 73 percent in Hardee County.
Hardee tied three other counties — Nassau, St. Johns and Union — for the highest percentage of third-graders scoring in level three or above on the FCAT 2.0 Math.
Avon and Cracker Trail elementary schools led the Highlands district with 75 percent and Memorial Elementary was the lowest with 35 percent at level three and above in third-grade math.
Interestingly, three of Hardee County’s five elementary schools had higher percentages in third-grade math than Avon and Cracker Trail elementary’s 75 percent — Hilltop Elementary (81 percent), Zolfo Springs Elementary (80 percent) and Wauchula Elementary (77 percent).
The Florida Department of Education issued eight regional press releases on the FCAT results. The Southwest Florida press release touted gains in Hardee and Hendry counties.
The FDOE noted that Hardee County improved from 2013 in four of the five assessment areas. In third grade, students improved three percentage points in mathematics and in writing, students in both fourth- and eighth-grade improved seven percentage points while 10-graders improved four percentage points.
The fourth-, eighth- and 10th-grade writing scores were also released Friday, which showed that Highlands, with 65 percent, had a higher percentage of students pass the FCAT 2.0 Writing than the state average of 53 percent and Hardee County with 51 percent. Cracker Trail led the Highlands district with an impressive 86 percent.
But, both Highlands and Hardee counties were significantly lower than the state in the percentage of students who passed the eighth- and 10th-grade FCAT 2.0 Writing.
The eighth-grade writing passing percentages follow: state at 56 percent, Highlands at 48 percent and Hardee at 32 percent. Lake Placid Middle trailed in Highlands County with 32 percent.
The 10th-grade writing passing percentages follow: state at 64 percent, Highlands at 54 percent and Hardee at 42 percent.
Next year, a new assessment based on the Florida Standards will replace the FCAT 2.0.
The Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts stress a broader approach for student learning, including an increased emphasis on analytical thinking. With the new and more rigorous standards, a new assessment was needed to measure student progress, according to the FDOE.