Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Florida 3rd grade reading scores jumped up in 2017

Florida 3rd grade reading scores jumped up in 2017

Manatee's results are still lower than the state average. The state assessments are supposed to measure whether students are on track to become a college-ready or career-ready by high school graduation.

St. Johns County was at the top in the state with 80 percent of its third-graders passing the test. Clay County had 70 percent and Baker had 64 percent.

Central Florida's third graders scored better on the state's key reading exam this year than last, mirroring an increase seen across Florida, the Florida Department of Education announced this morning.

Duval County's pass rate was 51 percent, up 1 point from past year and 5 points from 2015. Gilchrist tied for the largest percentage gain, 12 points, and was one of five smaller, rural counties reporting double-digit improvements, along with Taylor, Glades, Franklin and Jefferson. Florida's largest district, Miami-Dade, has 58 percent of its students in Level 3-5.

"This was a low-performing cohort as compared to the one before them", Vitti said, adding they probably needed more phonics instruction in their younger grade levels. The results, which are rounded, break down this way: 71 percent of Sarasota's third-graders are reading at Level 3-5, up from 68 percent in 2015-16; 18 percent are reading at Level 2, down from 21 percent past year; and 12 percent turned in Level 1 scores, up from 11 percent.

"District staff, principals, third-grade teachers, and interventionists worked hard and strategically to narrow that gap", he said. That is an increase from 47 percent previous year and 46 percent in 2015. "This was the only grade level that I was concerned about mid-year".

More than 228,000 third graders took the language arts portion of the Florida Standards Assessment. Other scores will be released later. Those results are expected by June 8.

A group of parents past year sued the state after their children were held back because they "opted out" of the reading test. Some will qualify for an exemption to state law because they have special needs or are learning to speak English as second language, Vitti said.

Anna Maria Elementary and Willis Elementary have the highest percentage of third-grade students reading at grade level, with 85 percent of their third-grade students at Level 3 or higher.

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