Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FCAT shows a slip in reading scores

TAMPA — Reading scores slipped a bit this year for Hillsborough County third-graders on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, putting larger numbers of students in jeopardy of being retained at that grade level.

Some 68 percent of students scored at the proficient level, down from 71 percent last year.

Officials saw reason for encouragement in modest gains on the math portion of the test, from 74 to 76 percent of students at grade level, as well as some impressive gains in individual schools.

"We're seeing steady progress," said spokesman Stephen Hegarty, referring to the broad upward trend in recent years.

But it was hard to overlook the drop in the high-stakes reading scores, since students scoring at the lowest proficiency level must return to third grade for another year under state guidelines, unless they are deemed proficient through an alternate test or portfolio review.

More than 2,900 students, 19 percent of those tested, fell into that group this year, up two percentage points from last year.

State officials, too, focused on the long-term growth in third graders' performance on the FCAT, pointing to a 26 percentage point increase over nine years in the number of students at or above grade level in math. At the same time, minority students continued to narrow the achievement gap in math with their white peers.

But reading was a different story this year. Across Florida, 17 percent of students scored in the lowest category, up a point from last year.

Some Hillsborough schools showed gains, including a handful of the district's high-poverty "renaissance schools."

Lockhart Elementary boosted its reading scores by 13 points to 70 percent performing at grade level, and improved its math by 9 points to 75 percent. Robles Elementary added 10 percentage points on both sides, with 55 percent reaching proficiency in reading and 70 percent in math.

Just Elementary increased its percentage of readers at grade level by just a point, to 34 percent, but jumped to 53 percent at standard in math, a 16-point gain.

And teachers and students were celebrating at Burney Elementary in Plant City, where students improved their reading score by 10 points to 42 percent at standard, and their math scores by 22 points to 71 percent.

"We are thrilled and hooting and hollering," said Sally Stephens, Burney's principal.

She said teachers redoubled their efforts this year to improve on their state grade of C, checking students' progress daily.

"We monitor those kids and reteach when we need to," Stephens said. "We've gotten rid of the floss, if it's not related to the standards. We're just very focused."

Staff writer Jeffrey Solochek contributed to this report. Tom Marshall can be reached at or (813) 226-3400.

FCAT results

School by school scores,


FCAT shows a slip in reading scores 05/22/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 22, 2009 12:13am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary


    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]
  2. June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series.
  3. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy


    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  4. Philando Castile family reaches $3 million settlement in death


    MINNEAPOLIS — The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

    A handout dashboard camera image of Officer Jeronimo Yanez firing at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., July 6, 2016. [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension via The New York Times]
  5. From the food editor: Almond-Crusted Chicken Tenders


    I decided my almond chicken obsession was becoming a bit much.

    Almond Crusted Chicken Tenders. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.