Increasing number of Manatee students pass math on FCAT

mdelaney@bradenton.comJune 7, 2014 

MANATEE COUNTY -- For the first time since 2008 Manatee County students in fourth, fifth and seventh grades exceeded the state average for math scores on the state's standardized test known as FCAT 2.0.

The state released the math grades, and a number of other grades, Friday morning. Results in math show:

• In fourth-grade math, 65 percent of Manatee students passed the test compared to the state average of 63 percent. Last year, 55 percent of Manatee fourth-graders passed.

• In fifth- and seventh-grade math, 57 percent of Manatee students passed compared to the state average of 56 percent. Last year, 51 percent of Manatee fifth-graders passed and 53 percent of seventh-graders passed.

• In eighth-grade math, 54 percent of Manatee stu

dents passed compared to the state average of 47 percent. Last year, 51 percent of Manatee eighth-graders passed.

"We're very proud of our students, teachers and principals and parents for showing a tremendous level of improvement this year," said Superintendent Rick W. Mills in a release. "It's a testament to their professionalism and dedication that even during this challenging school year our schools have remained focused on our number one mission of educating our children."

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart recognized school districts across Southwest Florida for improved student performance on state assessments in reading, mathematics and science.

"I applaud teachers and school leaders for their focus on increasing student academic performance," said Stewart. "As we transition to new standards and assessments next year, I am confident students will continue to succeed."

Scores for third-grade math and reading, along with writing in fourth, eighth and 10th grade were previously released by the state and the district made year-to-year improvements in each of those categories. In the last results released, Manatee fourth-graders exceeded the state average on the writing test. It was the first time Manatee students had exceeded the state average in that category, officials said.

A host of other math, reading and science scores were also released Friday, and the district is still behind the state average in a number of other categories.

The district is behind the state average in sixth-grade math. The district is also behind the state average in all reading categories.

Within the Manatee school system, results showed gains in a number of categories. In fourth-grade math, the district average jumped 10 percentage points, the largest jump in results released Friday.

District averages stayed flat in fifth-, eighth and 10th-grade reading. District averages dropped in seventh-grade reading, eighth-grade math and ninth-grade reading, according to the results.

Science scores for grades five and 10 were released Friday.

Half of fifth-grade students scored proficient in science, a five percent increase over last year. The state average in fifth-grade science is 54 percent proficient.

In eighth-grade science, 47 percent of Manatee students were proficient, a two-percent increase over last year. The state average in eighth-grade science is 40 percent proficient.

In neighboring Sarasota County, students bested the state average in every category released on Friday, although within Sarasota County some categories dropped slightly from year-to-year. In eighth-grade math, 69 percent of students ranked proficient, compared to 47 percent statewide, a 22-percent difference.

This is the last year the FCAT tests will be taken. Next year, the FCAT tests will be replaced with new tests developed by American Institutes for Research. The testing aligns with the nationwide Common Core standards, which are called Florida standards here. Officials expect to know what the new tests should look like this month.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.

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