Commissioner Corcoran Commends Students and Teachers for Outstanding Performance


June 28, 2019

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Commissioner Corcoran Commends Students and Teachers for Outstanding Performance
~ Shorter, later assessment window changes allow for more student learning time ~

Tallahassee, Fla., June 28, 2019 – Today, Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced improved state assessment results and highlighted the later, shorter spring testing window that enabled students to spend more time in the classroom learning and teachers more time teaching.

For the first time this spring, the administration of statewide assessments followed the requirements outlined in House Bill 7069 from the 2017 legislative session, which called for testing later in the school year over fewer days to maximize student learning. Specifically, compared to the school year prior to the passage of the law (2016-17):

  • The spring testing window opened 32 calendar days later, with the writing portion of the Florida Standards Assessment English language arts (FSA ELA) assessment moving from February 27 in 2017 to April 1 this year.
  • Additionally, the spring testing window for the remainder of the FSA ELA and mathematics, the statewide science assessment, and the statewide end-of-course (EOC) assessments shifted back three weeks, beginning May 1 in 2019, compared to April 10 in 2017.
  • Overall the amount of time during the assessment window dramatically decreased by four weeks this spring compared to 2017, with an additional 20 school days devoted to instruction rather than testing.
  • Adjusting the assessment window resulted in students dedicating significantly more time to the part of education that matters most, invaluable classroom instruction. 
  • Testing is now closely aligned to the end of the school year, maximizing the amount of instructional days before the start of assessments and minimizing time after. 

Commissioner Corcoran said, “High-quality education is a basic right for all students that has an undeniable connection to freedom. Developing lifelong learners helps ensure students have the confidence to pursue their career and life aspirations, knowing they are well equipped to overcome any of life’s challenges. Accountability is key because it provides a routine, uniform measurement that drives change where inequity is identified. As leaders, we must balance the benefits of this information with the need to protect our core function. These results prove that we have moved in the right direction, and I am immensely proud of our students.”

Commissioner Corcoran also expressed his appreciation for our state’s educators, saying, “Florida’s teachers are central to ensuring students develop a strong educational foundation that can be built upon each year. Their endless commitment to preparing future generations is awe-inspiring, and they deserve a great deal of credit for their role in this historic announcement.”   

Below are state-level highlights of Florida’s 2019 assessments.

Statewide Highlights for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics

Compared to 2018, a higher percentage of students passed the 2019 statewide, standardized English Language Arts and Mathematics assessments as highlighted below.

  • In grades 3-10, the percentage of students who passed (Level 3 or higher) the English Language Arts assessment increased by 1 percentage point. Below are highlights for individual grade levels.
    • Grade 6 increased by 3 percentage points.
    • Grades 4 and 9 increased by 2 percentage points.
    • Grades 3, 5 and 7 increased by 1 percentage point.
  • In English Language Arts, charter school performance increased 3 percentage points in grades 3-5 and 1 percentage point overall.
  • In grades 3-8, the percentage of students passing the Florida Standards Assessments in Mathematics and end-of-course assessments increased by 1 percentage point. Below are highlights for individual grade levels.
    • Grade 6 increased by 3 percentage points.
    • Grades 4 and 8 increased by 2 percentage points.
    • Grade 7 increased by 1 percentage point. 
  • In grades 6-8, charter school performance in Mathematics (Florida Standards Assessments and end-of-course assessments) increased by 2 percentage points.
  • The percentage of students passing the statewide end-of-course assessment in Geometry increased by 1 percentage point.
  • Charter school performance increased by 3 percentage points on the statewide Geometry assessment and by 1 percentage point on the statewide Algebra 1 assessment.

Statewide Highlights for Science and Social Studies

Compared to 2018, a higher percentage of Florida students passed the statewide, standardized Biology 1 and U.S. History assessments.

  • The percentage of students passing the statewide Biology 1 assessment increased 2 percentage points.
  • The percentage of students passing the statewide U.S. History assessment went up by 1 percentage point. 
  • Charter school performance increased by 2 percentage points on the statewide Biology 1 and U.S. History assessments and by 1 percentage point on the Civics assessment.

Closing the Achievement Gap and Subgroup Increases

For nearly 20 years, Florida has worked diligently to close the achievement gap. Every student is entitled to an education that prepares them for lifelong success and to tackle life’s challenges. Students today are excelling at rates that far exceed those of two decades ago. With more rigorous standards, higher expectations and high-quality instruction, students of all subgroups have responded with increased achievement.

For example, in 2001 on grades 3-10 FCAT Reading, 59% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 26% of African American students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 33 points). In 2019, on grades 3-10 FSA ELA, 67% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 38% of African American students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 29 points). And in 2001, on grades 3-10 FCAT Reading, 59% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 35% of Hispanic students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 24 points). In 2019, on grades 3-10 FSA ELA, 67% of white students scored Level 3 and above and 52% of Hispanic students scored Level 3 and above (gap of 15 points).

The achievement gap in grades 6-8 English Language Arts, grades 3-8 Mathematics, Geometry, Biology 1, U.S. History and Civics narrowed between 2018 and 2019, and subgroup performance increased across multiple subject areas.

  • In grades 3-10, English Language Arts performance increased by 2 percentage points for white students, and by 1 percentage point for African American students, Hispanic students and students with disabilities.
  • African American students, white students, economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, and English language learners all decreased the percentage scoring at the lowest level in English Language Arts. 
  • In grades 6-8, the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 2 percentage points, while the achievement gap between African American and white students narrowed by 1 percentage point in English Language Arts.
  • The percentage of Hispanic students and students with disabilities in grades 3-8 passing the Mathematics assessments (Florida Standards Assessments and end-of-course assessments) increased by 2 percentage points, while African American students, white students, and English language learners each increased performance by 1 percentage point. The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white counterparts narrowed by 1 percentage point.    
  • In Mathematics, the achievement gap between African American and white students and between Hispanic and white students in grades 3-5 narrowed by 1 percentage point.
  • In Geometry, African American students increased the percentage passing by 2 percentage points, narrowing the achievement gap with their white counterparts. Additionally, students with disabilities increased their performance by 1 percentage point.
  • African American students, Hispanic students, English language learners, and students with disabilities all decreased the percentage scoring at the lowest level in Geometry.
  • All subgroups increased performance in Biology 1. African American students increased by 3 percentage points, Hispanic students and students with disabilities increased by 2 percentage points, and white students, economically disadvantaged students and English language learners increased by 1 percentage point.
  • In Biology 1, the achievement gap between African American and white students narrowed by 2 percentage points and the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 1 percentage point.
  • In U.S. History, African American students increased the percentage passing by 3 percentage points, Hispanic students increased by 2 percentage points, and white students increased by 1 percentage point, narrowing the achievement gap between African American and white students by 2 percentage points and Hispanic and white students by 1 percentage point.
  • Also in U.S. History, the percentage of students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students passing the assessment went up.
  • In Civics, the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students narrowed by 2 percentage points, as Hispanic performance increased while the performance of their white counterparts remained the same. Students with disabilities and English language learners also increased the percentage of students passing the Civics assessment by 2 percentage points.

To view the statewide and district-level results, visit 2019 Assessment Results.

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