First-quarter numbers in Hillsborough show progress toward graduating more students
The Hillsborough County school district on Monday reported progress in attendance, behavior and grade point averages when this grading quarter was compared to the first quarter of 2015-16.
But the most dramatic improvement was in the area of reading tests required for a standard high school diploma.
In the first quarter of 2015-16, 70 percent of students had met that requirement. That number jumped to 76 percent for this report card quarter.
Much of that improvement came from a strategy called "concordant scores," in which students are encouraged to take another test if they do not pass the Florida Standards Assessment in English language arts and reading in 10th grade. Passing that test is a requirement for a high school diploma. Students can retake the test, or substitute the reading section of the ACT or SAT.
This PowerPoint, posted on Tuesday's School Board meeting agenda, shows that in the 2014-15 school year, 440 students earned their diploma through a concordant score. That number more than doubled in 2015-16, to 1,013.
The district this past summer targeted 432 students for an ACT test preparation course. Of those, 125 took part in the program and 85 registered and took the ACT on Sept. 10.
At least 32 passed, according to the report.
Hillsborough hopes to increase its high school graduation rate from its current 76 percent - which is slightly lower than other large districts - to 90 percent by the year 2020.
Other measures in the report showed more modest improvement when the two first-quarters were compared.
The percentage of students with a 90 percent attendance rate grew by one point, from 89 to 90 percent. And the percentage with no suspensions also grew by a point, from 96 to 97 percent.
Grade point averages in ninth grade that were 2.0 or better grew by two percent, from 81 to 83 percent.