CHIPLEY - Washington County school staff and students have reason to celebrate this week with the Florida Department of Education's release of this year's Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) scores.
The FCAT 2.0 is a criterion-referenced test that measures student success in reading, mathematics, science, and writing. FCAT 2.0 Reading is administered for grades 3-10, Mathematics for grades 3-8, Science for grades 5-8 and FCAT 2.0 Writing for grades 4, 8, and 10.
Students here made steady improvements in this year's testing, showing notable gains on the FCAT 2.0 Writing and Third Grade Reading and Mathematics tests. Washington County improved from 2013 in all five assessment areas released last week. This includes a 17 percentage-point increase in Grade 10 writing, a 16 percentage-point increase in Grade 4 writing, and an eight percentage-point increases in Grade 3 mathematics and Grade 8 writing.
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart congratulated teachers and students in Washington County for the increased scores in a press release last week.
“These impressive gains are the result of district leaders providing teachers with the tools and training they need to succeed,” said Commissioner Stewart. “I am confident that with new standards and assessments next year replacing the FCAT, our students will continue to succeed.”
Washington County Superintendent of Schools Joseph Taylor also says he couldn't be prouder of the FCAT results.
"This is evidence of the tremendous work our staff and students have been performing, and we all should be justifiably proud," said Taylor. He also reports a new assessment based on the Florida Standards will replace the FCAT 2.0 next year.
"The Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts stress a broader approach for student learning, including an increased emphasis on analytical thinking," he explained. "With the new and more rigorous standards, a new assessment was needed to measure student progress."
Washington County's success is part of a statewide trend of academic gains that has received national attention. Florida jumped from 11th to 6th in the nation for educational quality in 2013. In the past decade, the number of Florida graduates participating in AP courses has more than doubled, and the number of low-income graduates taking advanced placement (AP) courses has increased tenfold.
Additionally, Florida’s graduation rate was 75.6% for the 2012-2013 school year – an increase of 1.1 percentage points over the prior year and up five percentage points from the 2010-2011 academic year.