Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hillsborough students do well on FCAT writing

TAMPA — It was a good year for writing in Hillsborough schools, with FCAT scores released Thursday showing students outshining their peers in both the region and the state.

The county's middle school students continued to top most of Florida's 67 districts, with 93 percent of students scoring at proficient levels or better, compared with a state average of 90 percent.

High school scores were unchanged from last year, with 82 percent of students at standard or better, five points above average.

But it was the fourth grade scores that prompted the broadest smiles Thursday, with 88 percent of students scoring proficient or better, up 13 percentage points from last year.

"It's been the best day," said Temetia Creed, a district writing supervisor. "There are so many schools to be proud of."

Several elementary schools that had been struggling with their overall performance on the writing portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test showed double-digit gains.

Sulphur Springs Elementary boosted its scores by 15 percentage points, while Broward Elementary jumped 29 points. And the USF/Patel Elementary School, until last summer a charter school, increased the number of students at proficient levels by 45 points, bringing the percentage of students at standard to 90 percent.

Such gains didn't happen by teaching students to write simplistic, formula-driven essays, Creed said.

Writing teachers from those schools showed up for multiple training sessions on weekends and developed a writers' workshop approach that emphasizes one-on-one conferencing with student writers.

"We are very much anti-formula," she added. "They were able to grow each child individually, one by one, each month."

Starting next year, students will need a grade of 4 out of 6 to pass the writing test, rather than 3.5. But teachers have already been pushing for that standard in anticipation of the change, said middle school writing supervisor Max Hutto.

That's a big change from the way teachers used to operate, before the push for state assessments, he said.

"I assigned writing, I didn't teach it," Hutto said, recalling his teaching days. "Our teachers across the state have become pretty proficient at teaching writing."

Additional FCAT scores for reading and math are scheduled to be released later this month, with school grades due in July.

Tom Marshall can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3400.

For additional information on school and district performance on the FCAT, visit

ast facts

Schools' scores

For additional information on school and district performance on the FCAT, visit

Hillsborough students do well on FCAT writing 04/30/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 1, 2009 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102