The number of third-graders reading at grade level in the School District of Manatee County increased for the second year in a row.
Fifty percent of Manatee’s third-grade students are reading at grade level or better, according to scores on the Spring 2017 FSA English Language Arts (ELA) Grade 3 test released Friday by the Florida Department of Education. That is an increase from 47 percent last year and 46 percent in 2015.
Manatee’s results are still lower than the state average. Statewide, 58 percent of third-grade students read at grade level, a 4-point increase from the previous year.
“Our third-graders continue to show important signs of progress in reading,” deputy superintendent of instructional services Cynthia Saunders said. “They are registering these gains, even though third grade is the first year they actually take the FSA. While we welcome the progress, we are committed to achieving even greater signs of improvement moving forward.”
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Palm View Elementary had the largest increase in the number of students reading at level 3 or better, with a 16.5 percent increase. Blackburn Elementary increased 14 percent, Tillman Elementary 12.6 percent, Kinnan Elementary and Ballard Elementary each registered gains of 11.3 percent, and Sea Breeze rose 10.5 percent.
Anna Maria Elementary and Willis Elementary have the highest percentage of third-grade students reading at grade level, with 85 percent of their third-grade students at Level 3 or higher.
Palmetto Charter School had the highest rate in the county, with 89 percent of the 36 students who took the test scoring at grade level.
“The students and teachers at Palmetto Charter School worked very hard all year,” said Palmetto Charter third-grade teacher Alexandra Laser in an email to the Herald. “We found out today that the hard work paid off and we received the best scores in the county.”
Sarasota County had the fourth-highest rate in the state, with 71 percent. St. Johns County, south of Jacksonville, had the highest percentage, with 80 percent of third-graders reading at Level 3. Nassau had 78 percent and Gilchrist had 72 percent.
The percentage of third graders reading at level 3 or better:
Sarasota: 71 percent
Pinellas: 56 percent
Hillsborough: 56 percent
Manatee: 50 percent
DeSoto: 31 percent