[UPDATE] Big Bend Students Top State FCAT Results

By: Eyewitness News; AP; Jill Chandler Email
By: Eyewitness News; AP; Jill Chandler Email

[UPDATE] 6-6 6:15 pm-

Schools across the big bend are out-performing the rest of the state on the FCAT, despite dwindling funds and a harder test.

Taka Mays is the principal of Oak Ridge Elementary. She said, "It feels great, most importantly, it will feel much, much, great to our students and teachers... I know our students and teachers are very proud."

That's the sentiment from many teachers and principals as they came in to work Monday morning to find out how their students fared on the FCAT.

The scores released Monday are for reading, math, and science. Swift Creek Middle School improved in all subjects and all grades.

Joe Burgess is the Principal of Swift Creek Middle. He said, " I feel like I want to do some back flips, but I don't want to hurt myself... it shows we have a great thing going on at Swift Creek Middle School."

Wakulla County Schools rank in the top 12 in all 21 areas tested. Gadsden County is making strides with its math scores.

Local officials say what makes this news even more fulfilling, is the fact that the students have done this despite massive budget cuts from the Governor's office.

Superintendent of Leon County Schools, Jackie Pons, said, "All districts have been hit very hard by budget cuts, but our teachers and other employees stood strong during these difficult times."

This is the last year of the regular FCAT for math and science. Students will be taking FCAT 2.0 for those subjects next year.

To see how your student's school fared click on the link below.

[UPDATE] 6-6 10:55am - TALLAHASSEE –

The Florida Department of Education released the 2010-2011 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) results for reading, mathematics and science in grades four through eleven. Leon County Schools (LCS) once again earned some of the highest scores in Florida, exceeding the state average in reading, mathematics and science. Of counties our size or larger, LCS student results were in the top eight in the state in reading and mathematics.

“These latest FCAT scores indicate the level of commitment and dedication of our entire school community,” said Superintendent of Schools, Jackie Pons. “It is particularly notable that Swift Creek Middle School improved in all subjects tested. I am extremely proud that our students met the overall challenges of this more rigorous test.”

In reading and mathematics, grades 4 – 10, and science, grades 5, 8 and 11, LCS had a higher percentage of students scoring Level 3 or higher than the state at every grade. At the high school level, LCS reading and mathematics results were 6% - 10% higher than the state.

The percentage of LCS middle school students scoring level 3 or above improved in mathematics at every grade level: 6th grade (+5%), 7th grade (+3%) and 8th grade (+2%). LCS middle and elementary school students improved in science by 2%. LCS high school students improved in reading at 9th grade (+3%) and 10th grade (+2%).

Swift Creek Middle School’s results improved at every grade level in every subject area tested by FCAT (reading, mathematics, science and writing). At Deerlake, Montford and Gilchrist, results improved in reading and mathematics in all but one reported category. All categories at Gilchrist showed 88% or above of the students scoring level 3 or higher. Godby improved in all reading and mathematics categories reported. Oak Ridge showed impressive gains at 4th grade (reading +14%, mathematics +23%), the largest gains in the district.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --

Most statewide reading and math results
on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test changed little from
2010, but that was expected because a new scoring scale is not yet
ready to measure tougher standards tested for the first time this
year, state education officials said Monday.

For the portions of this year's FCAT written to old standards,
scores were up in science in all grades but down slightly for
10th-grade math.

The rest of what's being called FCAT 2.0 has content matching
new and more rigorous reading and math standards, but those
sections were graded based on the old standards, said Kris
Ellington, deputy commissioner for accountability, research and
measurement.

"There's no news at the state level," Ellington said. "Next
year there will be because we'll have new achievement level cut
scores. We'll have new expectations for how much students should
know and be able to do."

She compared a formula linking the new content to the old
scoring scheme to grading on a curve.

While that doesn't allow for a meaningful comparison of
statewide scores to last year's results, it does permit
fluctuations and valid comparisons at the district, school and
student levels, Ellington said.

This year's results also will be used to establish a new grading
formula after consultation with hundreds of educators and
policymakers, she said. It's expected to be presented to the State
Board of Education for approval in November. The 2011 results then
can be retrofitted to the new grading system for comparison with
next year's scores.

"This year's more of a conclusion of where we have been, and
next year's the beginning of the new FCAT 2.0 work," said
Education Commissioner Eric Smith. "What we're going through right
now is a very planned, very deliberative process to transition from
the old FCAT to the new FCAT 2.0."

Smith said there's been no repeat of problems that delayed
scores in 2010 and resulted in penalties against the state's FCAT
provider, Bloomington, Minn.-based NCS Pearson, then in the first
year of its four-year contract.

"This year has been on time and delivered with great quality,"
Smith said.

The state also has beefed up its monitoring and some school
level results were not reported due to anomalies, Ellington said.
The monitoring showed they had a "one in a trillion chance" of
getting the rejected scores, but school districts can appeal, she
said.

Besides the old-standards science and 10th-grade math results,
the Department of Education released FCAT 2.0 scores for fourth-
through 10th-grade reading and fourth- through eighth-grade math.
Scores for third-grade reading and math and writing for all tested
grades previously had been released.

Third-graders must pass the reading exam to advance to fourth
grade. High school students must pass the 10th grade FCAT to
graduate.

FCAT scores also determine school grades, which are expected to
be released in about a month. High performing schools can reap cash rewards. Failing grades can result in staff changes and other
penalties.

The test will take on additional importance in 2014 when a new
merit pay plan for teachers goes into effect. FCAT and other test
scores will be a key factor in determining which teachers qualify
for performance raises.

The old-standards math results showed 71 percent of 10th-graders
scored at or above grade level, a drop of 2 percentage points from
last year.

Students are tested on science at three grade levels. This year,
51 percent of fifth-graders scored at or better than their grade
level, an improvement of 2 percentage points. For eighth-graders it
was 46 percent, a 3 percentage point improvement, and for
11th-graders it was 40 percent, up 2 percentage points.

Smith said the science results were encouraging but "still far
too low." He said new standards being implemented in the classroom for next year's science tests should help students improve their performance.

"The previous standards were a mile wide and an inch deep,"
Smith said. "These are much more narrowly defined and go into a
deeper understanding of the concepts we expect kids to be able to
perform on."

Smith, though, won't be around to see the results.

The commissioner, recently praised by a Florida Senate
resolution for his "visionary leadership," has resigned effective
Friday under pressure from Gov. Rick Scott. The State Board of
Education has not yet hired a replacement.

___________________________________________

[UPDATE] 6-6 10:20am - TALLAHASSEE –

Florida Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith today announced the 2011 Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test 2.0 (FCAT 2.0) Reading results for grades 4-10, FCAT 2.0 Mathematics results for grades 4-8, FCAT Mathematics results for grade 10 and FCAT Science results for grades 5, 8 and 11. As expected, statewide results for FCAT 2.0 assessments remained essentially the same as last year due to the process used to transition to the new, more rigorous assessments. FCAT Science and the Grade 10 FCAT Mathematics were administered for the last time, with results showing statewide student performance increases for all science-tested grades and a slight performance decrease at grade 10 in mathematics.

“My congratulations go out to our teachers and school administrators who worked tirelessly this year to raise the achievement of our students and better prepare them for future success,” said Commissioner Smith. “Because of their efforts, the transition to more demanding assessments has been nearly seamless and I am confident that our focus on higher expectations for all children will result in significant progress in the years ahead.”

Florida’s statewide assessments are currently undergoing a transition from the FCAT to the new FCAT 2.0 and Florida End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments. These new assessments are based on Florida’s updated, more rigorous curriculum standards that were adopted by the State Board of Education several years ago. To help complete this transition, a method was used this year to link the new FCAT 2.0 assessment results to the old FCAT score scale, resulting in essentially the same percentage of students statewide scoring at each achievement level in 2011, as in 2010.

Although the linking process holds constant the statewide results for this year, it does allow for different results at the district and school levels. It is important to note that student achievement on FCAT 2.0 this year is not being reported on a new score scale since the new scale and achievement level standards will not be established until this fall. Therefore, student scores represent performance on this new test reported on the old FCAT score scale.

Results from the FCAT Science and the Grade 10 FCAT Mathematics remain on the same score scale, allowing for statewide comparisons to be made to previous years. Highlights of these results are as follows:

The percentage of students scoring proficient and above (Achievement Level 3 and higher) on Grade 5 FCAT Science increased two percentage points to 51 percent.
The percentage of students scoring proficient and above (Achievement Level 3 and higher) on Grade 8 FCAT Science increased three percentage points to 46 percent.
The percentage of students scoring proficient and above (Achievement Level 3 and higher) on Grade 11 FCAT Science increased two percentage points to 40 percent.
The percentage of grade 10 students scoring proficient and above (Achievement Level 3 and higher) on Grade 10 FCAT Mathematics decreased by two percentage points to 71 percent.

“I’m very encouraged by the continued progress we are seeing in science, but the overall performance of our students is still far too low,” added Commissioner Smith. “Important changes have recently been made to accelerate this progress, including increased graduation requirements that include critical science courses, our next generation curriculum standards that hone in on core science concepts and our Race to the Top win that has given us additional resources to concentrate on this vital subject area.”

To view this year’s statewide assessment results and learn more about the transition to FCAT 2.0 and EOC assessments, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org/.

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[UPDATE] 6-6 9:45am -

Leon County Schools will be holding a press conference at 10:30am to discuss the results.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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The Department of Education will release the results of the Spring 2011 FCAT 2.0 Grades 4-10 Reading and Grades 4-8 Mathematics assessments, as well as the results of the Spring 2011 Grade 10 FCAT Mathematics and Grades 5, 8, and 11 FCAT Science assessments on Monday, June 6th, at approximately 10:15 a.m. EDT.
We strongly encourage you to review the information provided in the below links to help you become familiar with this year's transition to new, more rigorous assessments.

- Main page for information on all Florida statewide assessments (including an informative webinar about the transition to FCAT 2.0) -

- Understanding FCAT 2.0 Reports -

- Understanding Florida End-of-Course Assessment Scores -


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