June 26, 2017
Wakulla High School students excelled in every subject tested on the 2017 state mandated assessments from the Florida Department of Education.
Of special note is the number one ranking of WHS students on the Algebra 2 state End of Course (EOC) exam. Combined WHS 9th, 10th, and 11th grade scores showed 89 percent proficiency, compared to the state average of 49 percent proficiency for the same grade levels.
Scores are based on the “percent proficient”, meaning the percent of students testing at or above grade level. On a scale of 1 to 5, Level 3 is considered satisfactorily on grade level, with Levels 4 and 5 considered above grade level.
“We’ve had a banner year for academic achievement,” says WHS Principal Mike Barwick. “It’s important to recognize the hard work our students and teachers put into this school year. I can’t ever remember ranking in front of consistently top performing counties like St. John’s School District. To have such high scores in every academic area shows that our efforts are in every classroom, every day.”
Of the seven academic areas tested at WHS, students ranked in the top five in the state for six areas and eighth for one area:
State Percent Proficient
WHS Percent Proficient
9th Grade English
10th Grade English
Algebra 1 (9th Grade)
Geometry (9th Grade)
(9th, 10th, 11th Grade)
(9th, 10th Grade)
Further digging into the numbers, Principal Barwick notes, “Our students who began the school year in what the state labels ‘the lowest quartile’ showed gains. In English Language Arts, our lowest quartile increased their overall test scores by 18 percent. In math, they showed a 9 percent increase. We try to get to every student. They are all important.”
Superintendent Bobby Pearce is also interested in how Wakulla students perform when compared to the 37 other small school districts of under 20,000 students. “For Wakulla High to rank in the top five scores for all of these 38 counties means a lot,” he says. “Sometimes smaller districts are expected to do more with less, as we don’t always have the resources that bigger districts have.”
These state tests are important to students for many reasons. In two areas, scoring a Level 3 or higher is a state high school graduation requirement: Algebra 1 and 10th Grade English Language Arts.
Adds Superintendent Pearce, “While tests are not the only measure of achievement, we know that our high school students will need to take assessments for almost anything they want to do in their futures such as getting into college and applying for jobs. And of course they have the quality Wakulla elementary and middle school teachers to thank for giving them a solid foundation to achieve in high school. It is a district-wide celebration.”