What do Pasco County's third-grade test results really tell you?
The release of third-grade Florida Standards Assessment language arts results has again drawn into stark relief the differences among Pasco County's elementary schools and their student populations.
The first two schools on the report, which is organized by a state-assigned number, makes it clear.
School 0021 is Rodney B. Cox Elementary, serving a high-poverty, high-minority community in Dade City. There, 49 percent of third graders scored at Level 1 on the test, making them at risk for retention.
That's the single highest rate of Level 1 scores in the county, except for the Pepin Academy charter school for students with special needs. Others in the same ballpark include Hudson Elementary (46 percent), Lacoochee Elementary (45 percent), Pasco Elementary (40 percent) and Gulf Highlands Elementary (39 percent).
All those schools serve low-income communities. All are preparing, or in the midst of, improvement plans.
By contrast, school 0032 is Trinity Elementary, serving a mostly upper-middle class suburban area on the Pasco-Hillsborough line. There, 1 percent of third graders scored at Level 1. Thirteen percent of Trinity's students scored Level 5, the highest.
And it wasn't the top school in that regard.
Sanders Memorial Elementary, a STEAM magnet in Land O'Lakes, had 23 percent of its students at Level 5, as well as 1 percent at Level 1. Wesley Chapel Elementary also had 23 percent at Level 5, and Seven Oaks Elementary, also in Wesley Chapel, had 22 percent.
School district officials said they use the FSA results while determining whether to have children repeat third grade. State law says students must score Level 2 or higher to be promoted, unless they get a good cause exemption.