Flagler County school district news releases–like most government-issued releases–tend to exaggerate the positive and underplay the negatives. Not in this case. A release announcing the results of Grade 3 Florida Standards Assessments in English Language Arts buried the lead: that Flagler’s 3rd graders improved their already-strong position in the state from 14th to 10th overall.
The proportion of students who scored a 3 or better (out of 5)–that is, students who are proficient in English at their grade level–also improved, from 60 percent to 63 percent.
Statewide in 2016, 54 percent of students scored a 3 or better, with St. Johns County again producing by far the best results, with 77 percent of its students at or better than proficiency, and almost half its students scoring 4 or 5. Just 23 percent of its students scored below a 3. The next-closest school district to St. Johns is Santa Rosa, where 70 percent of students were proficient or better, and 37 percent scored a 4 or a 5.
In comparison, a third of Flagler’s students scored a 4 or a 5, and 37 percent of the district’s students–well over a third–can’t handle English at grade level.
Statewide in 2015, 53 percent of students scored a 3 or better, with 73 percent of students in St. Johns County scoring 3 or better, five points better than Sarasota County.
Among individual schools, Old Kings Elementary’s students were the strongest, with 69 percent at a 3 or better (down from 71 percent last year), and 41 percent scoring a 4 or a 5. Next was Belle Terre Elementary, with 67 percent of students at a 3 or better, and 36 percent scoring in the 4 and 5 range. But both schools still had a third of their students scoring below a 3.
The most-improved school this year is Rymfire Elementary, where 66 percent of 3rd graders scored at or better than proficiency, a 7-point improvement from last year’s 59 percent. The school decreased the proportion of students below a 3 from 41 percent last year to 34 percent this year, and increased the number of students in the 4 and 5 range from 25 percent to 39 percent, a significant improvement.
Keep in mind: comparisons between one year and the next compare entirely different groups of students, as last year’s 3rd graders are this year’s 4th graders. The results do reflect a school’s more focused strategies to improve skills, but only up to a point: faculty cannot control to what extent their student population may be more fluid one year than the next. It cannot control the socio-economic backgrounds of students (poorer students score less well than richer students, for example).
The Florida Standards Assessments is the state’s latest attempt at a uniform testing system. From 2011 to2014, the FCAT 2.0 was used to measure student achievement of the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards in reading, mathematics, and writing. That test, which had its problems, was replaced by the Florida Standards Assessments in 2015 in English language arts and mathematics to measure student achievement of the Florida Standards.
The complete scores are in the chart below.
|School||Year||Students||Mean Score||% Scoring |
3 or Better
|Percent at Each Level|
|Old Kings Elementary||2016||177||307||69||14||18||29||27||14|
|Belle Terre Elementary||2016||226||308||67||11||22||32||21||15|
|Imagine School (Charter)||2016||101||305||62||12||26||33||18||12|
|Palm Harbor (Charter)||2016||6||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA|
|Flagler School District||2016||1,001||305||63||14||23||30||22||11|