Duval’s State Test Scores: District Happy With EOC Exams, Concerned About Reading

Jun 15, 2018

With state test scores out, Duval County students are hovering around the state average in many areas. The Florida Department of Education has released Florida Standards Assessment and End of Course Exam data for the 2017-18 school year.

Duval Assistant Superintendent of Accountability and Assessment Kelly Coker-Daniel said the district is in a good place.

“After seeing just incredible district record highs and increases over the last couple years, this data set showed some strong stability,” Coker Daniel said.

Highlights

Fifth-graders excelled this past school year. They improved on reading, math and science assessments.

“You don’t always see a clean sweep across an entire grade level like that,” Coker-Daniel said.

Since 2015, Duval fifth-graders have improved 10 percentage points in math, tying with the state average.

Coker-Daniel said she’s also impressed with how Duval students fared on end of course exams, taken for Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology, History and Civics.

“When you look at where the state average is and where we are as a district, we are at that state average or above that state average in pretty much every area,” Coker-Daniel said.

Although  Duval students did worse in 2018 compared to 2017 on some end of course exams, like Geometry, scoring 13 percentage points lower, they’re still in line with the state average.

But Duval students had major improvements in Civics, scoring 18 points higher than students did in 2017, ranking 13 points higher than the state average.

Lowlights

Reading continues to be an area needing improvement in the district, with students scoring below the state average in every grade tested. Duval ranks lower than the six other large, urban districts in the state in reading.

Coker-Daniel said she’s most concerned with third-,  fourth- and ninth-grade reading.

“Those grade levels have not progressed quite as much as we wanted and so I think we’re going to have to take a look at what are we doing in terms of our curriculum in that area and what are we doing in terms of monitoring and individualizing instruction,” she said.

Third-grade reading has historically been a concern in Duval and mid-year data suggested the scores might be improving. But the results show 50 percent of students passed the test, a one percentage point decline and seven percentage points below the state average.

What’s next?

Coker-Daniel said her team is working to break down the subjects into concepts to pinpoint what areas of curriculum need tweaking.

“From that we will talk about professional development for our teachers that aligns itself to that,” she said.

The test scores are factored into school grades which are expected to come out either at the end of June or early July. But school grades are composed of other components like learning gains and the graduation rate.

“At this point we will do some work with this data set but it is a very raw data set so I hesitate to do many predictions based on it,” she said.

Lake Forest Elementary along with Matthew Gilbert and Northwestern middle schools are in danger of the state requiring an outside operator company to manage them next year -- that’s if the low-performing schools don’t make C’s this year.

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