About 680 Collier County students could be retained in third grade based on FCAT reading scores released Thursday. Overall, Collier third-graders performed below the state average.
Fifty-three percent of Collier third graders received a proficient or satisfactory score — a level three or higher out of a five level scale — on the state test. Statewide, 56 percent of third grade students received a three or higher.
To be promoted to the fourth grade, students must earn a level two or higher. Last year, around 17 percent of students failed — earning a level one — compared to 20 percent this year.
“Obviously you can see with reading we’re down,” Collier Superintendent Kamela Patton said. “Still, we’re happy given the new cuts scores.”
This year, the state increased the standards on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test by raising the score students need to be proficient.
Students who score a level one can attend additional summer programs and be reassessed to move onto the fourth grade. Patton said last year about 630 students scored a level one.
This year’s data also includes all scores from students with disabilities and scores from students at least in their second year of learning English. In the past, these students’ scores were not included in the overall district scores.
“We’re sitting her with the fourth largest number of (English language learners) kids of counties in the state,” Patton said. “Really we’re doing quite well that we’re almost at the state’s average.”
State Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said the majority of students scoring at a level one are minorities and English language learners.
“It’s not a big shock to a lot of people,” he said. “We need to make sure we target resources to try to assist that population.”
On a school-by-school comparison using re-scaled 2011 data that follows the new, higher standards, Patton said around half of Collier elementary schools improved their performance compared to last year.
She said the district still expects to have eight F schools and seven D schools because of the raised standards and more inclusive grading system. The state should release school grades in late June.
Lee County third-graders performed better than the state-average with 59 percent of students scoring a level three or higher.
The state also released third grade FCAT math scores with a state average of 58 percent of students scoring proficient. Lee students outperformed the state with 63 percent scoring a three or above.
Collier students scored below the state average with 55 percent of students scoring proficient.
“I am encouraged with the results released today, especially given the changes to how the FCAT is now scored,” said Lee Schools Superintendent Joseph Burke. “In reading and math we outperformed the state by a clear margin.”
The state also released scores for the new biology and geometry end of course exams that was given for the first time this year. Both Collier and Lee students performed close to the state average.