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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida school districts get lists of lowest performers on third-grade test

Despite Florida's testing validity study, schools still need to know which third graders scored lowest on the Florida Standards Assessments language arts exams to help them decide whether the children should move to fourth grade or not.

They got the list of students in the lowest 20 percent on Thursday. That's the level at which lawmakers said third graders would be considered "at risk" and directed principals and teachers to look closely at whether they could move on with added support, or if they should repeat the grade.

The 20 percent is distributed across Florida, meaning that not all districts had that percentage of students deemed at risk. Baker, St. Johns, Nassau and Santa Rosa counties, for instance, had 9 percent of their third graders at the lowest level, while Gadsden, Madison and Hamilton counties had 30 percent or more on the list.

In the Tampa Bay area, Hernando County had 14 percent of third graders in the bottom quintile, while Pinellas County had 19 percent, and Hillsborough and Pasco counties had 20 percent. School by school data was not yet available. 

Each district is making its own procedures for how to evaluate student performance for promotion or retention.

Pasco officials have sent principals a memo detailing the benefits of promotion over retention, and noting that students who are held back must receive strong additional reading instruction. Hillsborough leaders said previously they would use alternative tests to the FSA, because of the lateness of the information.

Some testing reform groups have suggested that the state not use the FSA at all when determining third graders' progress.

[Last modified: Thursday, June 4, 2015 2:59pm]


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