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PRESS RELEASE

May 2, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Commissioner Winn Announces Top 10 School Districts for Increases in Third Grade Proficiency

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the top 10 school districts exhibiting the greatest one-year increases in third grade reading and mathematics proficiency. The top 10 districts were identified by comparing the percentage of districts' students reading and demonstrating math skills at or above grade level in 2006 to 2005. This year, Liberty County School District led the state with a 16.51-point increase in the percent of third graders reading at or above grade level — up to 85 percent compared to 69 percent in 2005. In mathematics, Franklin County School District third graders topped the list with a 15.07-point increase in the percent of students demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level — up to 72 percent compared to 57 percent in 2005.

"Reading and math skills are critical for a student's success in school and in life," said Commissioner Winn. "These school districts have shown the rest of the state the commitment necessary to take students to the level of their capabilities. I commend the students, parents and teachers for their hard work in making these gains a reality."

The top 10 districts making the greatest one-year increases in reading proficiency are (increased percentage of third graders reading at or above grade level):

  • Liberty, 16.51 percent point increase (up to 85 from 69)
  • Holmes, 16.11 percent point increase (up to 78 from 62)
  • Hamilton, 14.98 percent point increase (up to 68 from 53)
  • Desoto, 14.71 percent point increase (up to 68 from 53)
  • Bradford, 13.85 percent point increase (up to 81 from 67)
  • Sumter, 12.76 percent point increase (up to 79 from 67)
  • Hardee, 12.47 percent point increase (up to 73 from 61)
  • Gilchrist, 12.03 percent point increase (up to 84 from 72)
  • Putnam, 11.70 percent point increase (up to 75 from 63)
  • Madison, 11.43 percent point increase (up to 78 from 66)

This year, every district experienced increased improvement in the percent of third graders reading at or above grade level over last year, and 16 districts made double-digit increases. Likewise, every district saw a drop from last year in the percent of students reading at the lowest level (Level 1). Five districts had double-digit decreases.

The top 10 districts making the greatest one-year increases in mathematics proficiency are (increased percentage of third graders demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level):

  • Franklin, 15.07 percent point increase (up to 72 from 57)
  • Levy, 14.81 percent point increase (up to 71 from 56)
  • Jefferson, 13.97 percent point increase (up to 54 from 40)
  • Glades, 12.16 percent point increase (up to 72 from 60)
  • Hamilton, 11.38 percent point increase (up to 60 from 48)
  • Hardee, 11.18 percent point increase (up to 75 from 64)
  • Holmes, 10.98 percent point increase (up to 64 from 53)
  • Walton, 10.96 percent point increase (up to 79 from 68)
  • Bradford, 10.94 percent point increase (up to 67 from 56)
  • Lafayette, 9.88 percent point increase (up to 77 from 67)

Sixty districts experienced improvement in the percent of third graders demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level over last year, and nine made double-digit increases. All but seven districts saw a drop from last year in the percent of students demonstrating mathematics skills at the lowest level (Level 1). Seven had double-digit decreases. Jefferson County School District made significant strides in decreasing the percentage of students at Level 1, experiencing a 21.27 percent decline.

Social promotion for third grade was eliminated in 2001 as a necessary intervention step to ensure students will be able to meet the more rigorous standards of later grades. Since eliminating social promotion, students are improving in both reading and mathematics. Statewide, a record number of third graders are reading at or above grade level. Results show three-fourths of all Florida third grade students are reading at or above grade level — the largest number in state history.

To view school and district FCAT scores for third grade reading and mathematics visit http://fcat.fldoe.org/.