June 12, 2017
Wakulla County public school students exceeded the state average on 17 of the 22 state mandated tests. Spring 2017 scores were recently released by the Florida Department of Education for the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) and state End-of-Course (EOC) exams in English Language Arts (ELA), Math, Science, and Social Studies in grades 3 through 11.
In 15 of the 22 areas tested, Wakulla students had passing percentages in the top ten scores in the state.
Wakulla ranked number one in the state for combined 9th, 10th, and 11th Grade students passing the Algebra 2 EOC exam at 89 percent versus the state average of 49 percent passing.
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.
Of special note are Wakulla scores ten or more percentage points proficient over the state averages: 5th Grade Math, 6th Grade Math, 9th Grade ELA, Algebra 1 (Grades 7,8,9), Geometry (Grades 8,9,10), Algebra 2 (Grades 9,10,11), and Biology (Grades 9, 10).
“Overall, I think we’ve made great strides, especially with this only being the second year of the new Florida Standards Assessments. Our teachers have quickly adapted to the new tests and constantly delve into how to best teach our students. Their lesson planning and delivery hit the target with what our students are expected to know,” states Superintendent Bobby Pearce.
“Of course we are always looking for ways to improve, and our educators are already pinpointing grade levels and subjects where we need to take a closer look at how to best teach skills students may have struggled with.”
Wakulla High School principal Mike Barwick and Superintendent Pearce both believe that the targeted work with high school students is helping them not just pass state tests, but also prepare for those few short years from now when they will enter the workforce.
Notes Pearce, “It’s fulfilling to see that our Wakulla High School students did so well in so many areas. In 9th and 10th Grade English Language Arts, Geometry, Algebra 2, Biology, and U.S. History, they ranked in the top ten statewide for proficiency. Every level from Pre-K through 8th grade prepares them for success in these tough subjects.”
In two areas, scoring a Level 3 or higher is a high school graduation requirement: Algebra 1 and 10th Grade ELA. Wakulla’s Algebra 1 EOC scores are at 78 percent proficient (state 62); Wakulla’s 10th Grade ELA scores are 56 percent proficient (state 50). Students will have other
opportunities throughout high school to pass these or concordant tests like the ACT (American College Test) for graduation.
Another comparison important to Wakulla educators is how Wakulla fares when compared to other small districts defined as those with less than 20,000 students. Of the 38 small districts in the state, Wakulla ranked in the top ten in 17 of the 22 areas tested.
Pearce adds, “These state tests are only one measure, but it is validating to have our students do well on whatever assessments are given. The hard work of our students, teachers, and administrators combined with the support of our parents and community members all help make Wakulla a place that values our children’s education.”