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State Tests Show Half Of Duval 3rd Graders Reading At Grade Level


The most recent state reading test scores confirm what Duval County School Board members have stressed for the past few years: Literacy is one of the district’s biggest challenges.

Nearly half of the district's third-graders are not reading at grade level, with Duval County scoring last among the state’s seven largest districts for third graders’ performance on this year’s Florida State Assessment in reading.

Miami-Dade, the most populous county, is on par with the state average at 58 percent of third-graders reading at grade level. Duval had 51 percent of third graders pass.

Low scores could mean students have to go to summer school or repeat third grade, if they don’t qualify for one of seven exemptions.

However, an email from the district said students made strides since January, when mid-year data predicted just 47 percent would read on grade level by the end of the year — a 3 percent drop from the previous cohort of third graders, at 50 percent. This year’s third graders performed higher than last year's by 1 percent.

Within Duval county, George Washington Carver Elementary scored the lowest with just 10 percent passing. Meanwhile, Jacksonville Beach Elementary scored the highest at 96 percent. More than half of Duval’s schools serving third graders have 50 percent or fewer students reading at grade level.

The state hasn’t released individual student data, so the district hasn’t broken down the scores by race or income. Board members have been concerned about those gaps widening.

Duval’s interim superintendent Patricia Willis has said literacy will be a focus under her leadership.

Photo: "School Library" used under Creative Commons

LISTEN | This story is featured in Redux

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.