Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas FCAT scores continue overall rise

Pinellas school officials expressed cautious optimism Tuesday that the district's 10th-graders may be rounding a corner on the reading portion of the FCAT.

For the second year in a row, the number of students at grade level or above rose slightly after declining every year from 2001 to 2006. Forty percent of 10th-graders are now proficient, according to this year's release of scores in reading, math and science.

It's hardly something to boast about, but it could indicate a positive trend, said deputy superintendent Harry Brown.

"Students who have been getting interventions since elementary school are now coming into high school," Brown said. "It's paying off."

While individual high schools showed modest gains, Osceola Fundamental raised its 10th-grade reading scores by 11 percentage points. Northeast High improved 9 percentage points, and St. Petersburg High jumped 8 percentage points.

Ninth-grade reading scores rose as well, with 14 of 16 high schools showing gains. The most notable improvement came at Pinellas Park High, up 13 percentage points, and at Countryside High, where principal Gerald Schlereth said a special learning environment for freshmen was key to his school's 10 percentage point gain.

Statewide, the number of ninth-graders reading at grade level or above increased 5 percentage points, to 46 percent. Tenth-graders moved up 4 percentage points, to 38 percent.

And while overall science scores remain poor at both the state and district levels, students made slight gains there. The number on grade level and above in Pinellas rose from 39 to 41 percent.

Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith highlighted the long-term trend, saying the numbers are "nowhere where we need to be, but our students are showing the kind of progress we like."

Florida elementary school and middle school students showed gains in every grade level and subject except one: fifth-grade reading.

Smith called the statewide drop of 5 percentage points "a normal fluctuation." He dismissed suggestions that it could be tied to problems with the third-grade FCAT in 2006. Students who took that test — this year's fifth-graders — got inflated scores. Some may have been promoted by mistake.

Despite Smith's assurances, the drop in Pinellas is striking. Sixty-one of the district's 82 elementaries declined, and 15 suffered losses of 15 percentage points or more. Gulf Beaches Elementary and Sandy Lane Elementary experienced declines of 26 and 22 percentage points, respectively.

District reading supervisor Pamela Moore calls that "fishy," especially when some of Pinellas' schools struggling the most, like Blanton and Clearview Avenue, showed gains.

"It does just kind of jump off the page, but we can't put our finger on it," Moore said, promising that the district will delve into the numbers in the next several days.

Times staff writer Ron Matus contributed to this report. Donna Winchester can be reached at or

(727) 893-8413.

>>Fast facts

Pinellas improves

Pinellas students in grades 4-10 improved in reading and math on this year's FCAT. Here is the percentage who scored at grade level or above compared to last year.

2008 2007

Reading 61% 59%

Math 66% 65%

Science 41% 39%

Parents can begin going online to see their children's FCAT scores at 6 a.m. Thursday. Log on to using the secure log in and password provided by the school.

Source: Florida Department of Education

Pinellas FCAT scores continue overall rise 06/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 3:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.