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PRESS RELEASE

May 10, 2006

Cathy Schroeder
(850) 245-0413

Commissioner Winn Announces Top 10 School Districts Closing the Achievement Gap

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John L. Winn today announced the top 10 school districts closing the achievement gap between minority third graders and their white counterparts. The top 10 districts were identified by comparing the increased percentages of districts' African-American and Hispanic students who are reading and demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level on the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test compared to the percentage of white students from 2005 to 2006.

"It is critical that all students achieve success now, so they may succeed later in life," said Commissioner Winn. "I applaud these school districts for working to close the achievement gap, but there is still much to be done. We cannot rest until we eliminate any disparities between all students."

African-American Students

Top 10 districts closing the achievement gap for African-American third graders in reading:

  • Jefferson by 16.67 percent
  • Union by 16.29 percent
  • DeSoto by 15.50 percent
  • Charlotte by 13.10 percent
  • Hamilton by 12.74 percent
  • Madison by 11.93 percent
  • Suwannee by 11.92 percent
  • Pasco by 11.48 percent
  • Flagler by 11.38 percent
  • Washington by 11.00 percent

Top 10 districts closing the achievement gap for African-American third graders in mathematics:

  • DeSoto by 26.91 percent
  • Jefferson by 25.83 percent
  • Flagler by 15.82 percent
  • Martin by 11.85 percent
  • Hernando by 10.38 percent
  • Putnam by 8.86 percent
  • Lake by 8.83 percent
  • Jackson by 7.92 percent
  • Dixie by 7.79 percent
  • Union by 7.13 percent

Hispanic Students

Top 10 districts closing the achievement gap for Hispanic third graders in reading:

  • Jackson by 19.20 percent
  • Leon by 15.27 percent
  • Nassau by 12.66 percent
  • Hamilton by 12.36 percent
  • Indian River by 9.46 percent
  • Marion by 8.28 percent
  • St. Johns by 8.26 percent
  • Okaloosa by 5.38 percent
  • Pasco by 4.97 percent
  • Palm Beach by 4.57 percent

Top 10 districts closing the achievement gap for Hispanic third graders in mathematics:

  • Leon by 15.20 percent
  • Okaloosa by 9.02 percent
  • St. Lucie by 7.88 percent
  • Citrus by 7.08 percent
  • Sumter by 6.84 percent
  • Jackson by 6.17 percent
  • Lafayette by 6.01 percent
  • Marion by 4.62 percent
  • Highlands by 4.42 percent
  • DeSoto by 4.27 percent

The achievement gap is the difference between the academic performance of minority students compared to white students. Across the state, African-American and Hispanic continue to make progress in both reading and mathematics. The percent of African-American third graders reading on grade level has nearly doubled since 2001. Currently, 61 percent of African-American third graders are reading at or above grade level, up from 37 percent in 2001. Hispanic students made similar increases with 70 percent reading at or above grade level, up from 46 percent in 2001. In mathematics, more than half, 54 percent, of African-American third graders are demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level, up from 29 percent in 2001. More than two-thirds, 68 percent, of Hispanic third graders are demonstrating mathematics skills at or above grade level, up from 44 percent in 2001.

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/.