The Florida Department of Education today released the results of this year’s FCAT writing test taken by fourth, eighth and tenth graders.
According to the data released by the D.O.E., 58 percent of students statewide scored a 3.5 or higher--up from 54 percent last year.
Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett credits a number of factors for the improvement.
"A combination of expanded time, better teacher preparation with professional development, more attention in the classroom to proper writing and use of supporting documentation."
Bennett says school superintendents around the state told him making the FCAT writing assessment an hour long instead of forty five minutes made a big difference this year.
The state also released this year's FCAT scores for third grade reading and math.
According to the data, 55 percent of the 10,000 Duval County third graders who took the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test this year scored a three or higher in reading.
School Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti calls that a small but significant gain.
"We improved four percentage points which outpaced the state's average of improvement and narrowed the gap between third grade reading proficiency when comparing Duval and the state."
Fifty-seven percent of third graders statewide scored a three or better on the test.
As for math, 56 percent of Duval’s third graders got a three or above--up from 55 percent last year. Statewide, 58 percent of students showed proficiency in math.
"So, a lot to be excited about and to build on going into 2013-14."
Overall, the school districts in Northeast Florida made a good showing on this year’s FCAT’s.
According to the state data, of the 24oo St Johns County third graders who took the tests, 76 percent scored a three or-above in reading. 71 percent scored a three or-higher in math.
In Clay County, 69 percent of the 2500 third graders who took the FCAT scored three or higher in reading. 65 percent earned a three or above in math.
The remaining FCAT scores plus the results for end-of-course exams are due out in June.