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Manatee fourth-graders show improvement in writing test

MANATEE — More of Manatee County’s fourth-graders made the grade in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test writing exam this year but the same can’t be said of the 10th graders.

The results are consistent with those of their statewide peers, according to FCAT writing scores released Thursday.

Manatee’s fourth-graders made the most improvement. Seventy nine percent of the students who took the test are considered proficient, compared to 70 percent last year. The number of 10th-graders scoring at grade level dipped from 74 percent last year to 71 percent this year.

The percentage of eighth-graders who are considered proficient went up by 1 percent — from 85 percent last year to 86 percent this year.

But Manatee students are still behind their peers in the state.

Statewide, 85 percent of Florida’s fourth-graders passed the test, compared to 77 percent last year. Eighth-graders also showed improvement in the writing test: 90 percent of the students passed this year, up from 88 percent.

Tenth-graders saw a slight drop in the percentage of students considered at grade level, from 78 percent to 77 percent.

Students who receive a combined score of 3.5 is considered at grade level. Tests are scored on a range of one and six, with six being the highest.

Officials nixed the multiple choice portion of the writing test this year. But every year, students are asked to write three kinds of essays. Expository writing requires students to explain something; narrative writing asks students to describe something; and persuasive writing requires students to present an argument.

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