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Duval Students Showing Improvement On Most State Tests; Improving Literacy Rate Remains Focus

Cyd Hoskinson

Duval County School officials are celebrating students’ improved scores on state assessments and end-of-course exams. But while Duval students improved on most tests, they still lag behind other large Florida districts and the state average in areas like reading.

Duval students are outperforming the other six largest districts in the state in end-of-the year tests in algebra I and II, geometry and biology.  

About three-fourths of students taking algebra I tests passed, surpassing the state average of 62 percent by 12 percentage points.

And, overall, Duval students improved in English language arts, but they still rank last out of the seven largest school districts in all grades but ninth. For instance Duval seventh-graders trail Palm Beach’s in reading by more than 10 percentage points.

In all math testing, the percentage of Duval students passing is up two points, which is four points below the state average of 59 percent.

Duval Superintendent Patricia Willis said the improvements are pleasing.

“Each year, our state raises performance requirements, and this year’s scores demonstrate that our students are meeting the challenge in most categories,” she said in an email. “When compared to similar districts, we also see evidence that instructional excellence in our classrooms occurs every day.”

She said the district’s team is taking a deep dive into the data to see what’s working and leverage successes to use in the the more challenged areas like middle school reading and math.

Willis has said improving literacyrates is one of her biggest areas of concentration when she took over as superintendent last month.

School grades, based on student performance, are expected to be released in July.

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.