FCAT scores in reading, math and science showed small-to-modest gains statewide in every grade and subject but one, according to the results for grades 4 to 11 released Tuesday.
Gains were particularly strong for ninth- and 10th-graders in reading, with statewide increases of 5 percentage points and 4 percentage points, respectively, over last year's results.
In Pasco County, the percentage of ninth-graders reading at grade level was up by 5 percentage points, from 41 to 46 percent. Tenth-graders increased their scores by 6 points, from 32 to 38 percent.
The statewide average for those reading at grade level was 46 percent in ninth grade and 38 percent in 10th grade.
"We're heading in the right direction," school superintendent Heather Fiorentino said Tuesday. "I am proud of our staff and their dedication."
Overall, Pasco students posted modest gains at nearly every grade level in every subject. The only blemish, as was true for the rest of the state, came in fifth-grade reading scores.
Pasco had 68 percent of its fifth-grade students reading at grade level this year, compared with 72 percent in 2007. Statewide, that number was 67 percent, a drop from 72 percent last year.
In all other grades, Pasco students either improved or maintained reading scores, and more were at or above the statewide average.
The following schools increased reading proficiency levels in all grades:
Calusa, Deer Park, Gulf Highlands, Lake Myrtle, Pine View and Wesley Chapel elementary schools; Raymond B. Stewart Middle; and Gulf, Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Pasco, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Wiregrass Ranch and Zephyrhills high schools.
In math, the gains were most pronounced in eighth-, ninth- and 10th-grades. Sixty-eight percent of Pasco eighth-graders were working at grade level (the statewide average was 67 percent), up from 61 percent in 2007.
In ninth-grade, 63 percent worked at grade level, besting last year's number by 4 percentage points, and in 10th grade, 70 percent worked at grade level, beating the statewide average by 1 point and last year's score by 7 points.
The following schools increased their math proficiency in all grade levels:
Chester Taylor, Deer Park, Mary Giella, Marlowe, Northwest, Trinity and Wesley Chapel elementary schools; Gulf, Hudson, Pine View and Dr. John Long middle schools; Gulf, Hudson, Land O'Lakes, Mitchell, Pasco, Ridgewood, River Ridge, Wesley Chapel, Wiregrass Ranch and Zephyrhills high schools.
Although science scores were still low, Pasco students did better in this category in 2008. But in fifth-grade, only 40 percent of the students were working at grade level, which was three points less than the state average.
Eighth- and 11th-grade students in Pasco were on pace with the state averages in science — 40 and 38 percent, respectively.
District officials said 75 percent of Pasco schools increased in the percentage of fifth-graders working at grade level in science. That figure was 62 percent for eighth-graders and 66 percent for 11th-graders.
While Pasco has room to improve, Fiorentino said the gains posted show the district's strategies — and hard work — are paying off.
"We know it's about children," she said. "Everyone in this district is passionate about what they do."