Sunday, December 17, 2017
Education

Hernando students post below-average math scores, FCAT results show

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County students are pretty good readers, not very good at math and okay at science.

At least that's what the final round of results from the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, released Tuesday, show when Hernando numbers are compared to statewide averages.

"It wasn't as great as it could be, but it was okay," said Hernando County superintendent Bryan Blavatt.

Hernando students performed above the state average at every grade level on the reading exam, except for fifth-graders, who tied the Florida average at 61 percent.

Students, however, continued to struggle on the math exam, scoring below the state average at all grade levels. Sixth-graders did the worst, with only 47 percent scoring at Level 3 on a five-point scale, the mark at which students are considered proficient.

Blavatt said the district has struggled with math scores in the past. "Math has always been an area of deficiency," he said.

Recently, the district has focused its efforts on improving math scores. But, Blavatt said, "Evidentially, it's not doing what we want it to do."

On the science exam, fifth-graders scored worse than the state average while eighth-graders scored higher.

The release of scores on Tuesday marked the end of three weeks of FCAT results. The latest results included reading and math scores for grades 4 to 8 and science scores for grades 5 and 8.

As expected, lower percentages of students in Florida were considered proficient this year, after the state Board of Education increased the passing score on the more difficult test. The state debuted its new, tougher FCAT last year.

State education officials praised the results Tuesday, saying students did better than expected against tougher standards.

"Florida is leading the nation by preparing our children for more challenging Common Core Standards and assessments," Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said in a prepared statement. "I applaud our students and teachers for their inspired efforts."

At Winding Waters K-8 School, which is wrapping up its first year, fourth-graders exceeded the district average in both reading and math while fifth-graders fell below the district average in math, said principal Dave Dannemiller.

He said he was pleased with the results.

"I have high expectations, as my staff does," Dannemiller said. "We're not where we want to be, but we're getting there."

The state on Tuesday also released "retrofitted" scores for 2011 to provide a year-to-year comparison with this year's test.

In Hernando, the scores for each grade level on each test were lower this year than last year. But Blavatt said it's difficult to compare years because of all of the changes in tests.

"I would like to have the stability in the state to be able to measure things the same every year with the same tests and the same cutoff marks," he said.

Staff writers Cara Fitzpatrick and Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this report. Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432

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