Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FCAT scores show decline in 10th-grade reading proficiency

Performance slipped this year for 10th-graders on the high-stakes reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, with large majorities of students still below grade level.

Results released Thursday showed Hillsborough County sophomores leading the struggling pack, with 38 percent at or above standard in reading, down 3 percentage points from last year. Pinellas students dropped 3 points to 37 percent, while 34 percent of students made the grade in Pasco and Hernando counties, down 4 and 2 points respectively.

"Obviously, districts across the state are struggling at 10th grade," said Cathy Fleeger, an assistant superintendent in charge of high schools in Pinellas.

Students must reach proficient levels on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test in order to graduate.

One bright spot for some of the districts: Over the last five years every district but Pinellas has improved its 10th-grade reading score by 2 to 4 percentage points.

But officials found little comfort in the slow pace of those gains. State education commissioner Eric J. Smith conceded there was "room for improvement" in high school scores in a press release, but predicted that continued efforts at that level would do the job.

Overall, state officials accentuated the positive Thursday as they released reading and math scores for Grades 4 through 10 and science scores for Grades 5, 8 and 11. They pointed to long-term gains in every subject since 2001.

Florida elementary and middle school students posted gains of 1 to 3 percentage points since last year in math, science and reading.

And middle schoolers statewide made a fourth straight year of improvements in reading, after years of stagnant scores. The percentage of sixth-graders reading at grade level or above jumped 3 points to 66 percent, while seventh- and eighth-graders improved to 67 percent and 54 percent respectively.

But it took little prompting for officials to acknowledge problems at the high school level.

Pinellas County sophomores saw a 10-percentage point drop in reading scores since 2001.

Seminole and St. Petersburg high schools each fell 8 percentage points, and three schools — Countryside, Northeast and Tarpon Springs — had drops of 5 percentage points. At Northeast, the percentage of 10th-graders reading at grade level or above fell from 30 percent last year to 25 percent.

"The good news is that no other districts have found a wonderful program that we haven't," Fleeger said.

Hard work, however, has begun to show results at Blake High School in Hillsborough County, which earned its second straight D from the state last year. Sophomores raised their reading score by three points to 36 percent at grade level, and boosted their math proficiency by 10 points to 68 percent.

But D rated Middleton High lost ground in reading, from 21 to 18 percent at grade level, even as it improved its math scores by a point to 52 percent proficient. And Leto High sophomores lost 7 points in reading, from 22 to 15 percent at grade level or better, while holding steady at 52 percent in math.

Just three high schools out of more than 30 in Hillsborough — Newsome, Plant, and Sickles — saw more than half their sophomores at proficiency or better in reading.

District officials said raising high school reading scores is an inexact science at best. Even with every ninth-grader in a reading class, many are still behind as sophomores.

"What works at one site sometimes doesn't work at another site," said David Steele, who oversees assessment as chief information officer.

"And it goes in cycles," he said. "Last year was a very good year. This year I'm looking at some schools where we see a drop from last year but a gain from the year before."

Staff writers Jeffrey Solochek, Ron Matus and Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3400.

For individual school and district scores, visit fcat.fldoe.org/.

FCAT scores show decline in 10th-grade reading proficiency 05/28/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 29, 2009 8:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Secret Service says it will run out of money to protect Trump and his family Sept. 30

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Secret Service said Monday that it has enough money to cover the cost of protecting President Donald Trump and his family through the end of September, but after that the agency will hit a federally mandated cap on salaries and overtime unless Congress intervenes.

    Secret service agents walk with President Donald Trump after a ceremony to welcome the 2016 NCAA Football National Champions the Clemson Tigers on the South Lawn of the White House on June 12, 2017. [Olivier Douliery | Sipa USA via TNS]
  2. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  3. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    His attorney said Jason Jerome Springer, 39, just talked, and there was “no true threat.”


  4. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.
  5. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]