Follow the trend lines
Florida's elementary school students may be "plateau-ing" on the FCAT. But the trend lines for middle and high school students are taking off, Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith told the Board of Education at its meeting in Tampa yesterday.
From 2001 to 2005, the number of students reading at grade level or above rose all of 3 percent in middle school, and 2 percent in high school.
But since 2005, it's a different story: According to FCAT scores released last week, middle school reading scores are up 10 percent (to 61 percent total) and high school scores are up 8 percent (to 42 percent). At the same time, the percentage scoring at the lowest level (Level 1) has dropped to 17 percent in middle school and 30 percent in high school.
Could it be that the state's focus on literacy in elementary school is finally pulsing up to higher grades?
"We're still a long way from success, but I like the trend line over the last four years," Smith told the board. "Is 30 percent too many scoring at Level 1? It's unacceptable. But the trend line is going in the right direction."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter