School district touts test score increases
The School District of Lee County again saw gains in overall scores on the 2019 Spring Florida Standards Assessment and End of Course Exams.
The English Language Arts FSA test, which includes both reading and writing skills, was given to students in grades third through 10th. The FSA Math was given to students in third through eighth grade and students in fifth through eighth grade were administered the science test.
The EOC exams were given to students enrolled in civics, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and geometry.
According to the district, those scoring at Level three or higher — meaning the met or exceeded minium standards — on the English Language Arts and Math FSA increased at every grade level.
According to the Florida Department of Education 57 percent of students statewide in grades third through fifth scored at a level three or higher on their FSA English Language Arts test. Fifty-four percent scored at a Level three or higher in grades sixth through 10th grade.
In Lee County, 55 percent of students in third through fifth grade scored at a Level three or higher on their FSA English Language Arts test and 54 percent in grades sixth through tenth grade scored at a Level three or higher.
The sixth grade math scores increased by 6 percent and eighth grade scores had an increase of 13 percent points, according to the district.
Statewide, all mathematics tests for grades third through fifth, 62 percent, scored at a Level three or higher, while those in grades sixth through eighth, 59 percent scored at a Level three or higher.
In Lee County, 60 percent of students in grades third through fifth scored at a Level three or higher, whereas 58 percent in grades sixth through eighth scored at a Level three or higher.
The District reported that 95 percent of Lee students taking the Algebra 1 EOC in grades fourth through eighth scored at Levels three to five.
According to the Florida Department of Education, 62 percent of students taking the Algebra 1 EOC scored at a level three or higher. In Lee County, 60 percent of all students scored at a Level three or higher on their Algebra 1 EOC exam.
The middle school civics and high school U.S. History EOC scores both increased.
Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jeff Spiro said when breaking it down by grade level the District was up in every grade level – third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. The percentage stayed the same for ninth grade students and went down 2 points in 10th grade compared to the previous year for those scoring three or above.
Roughly three or four years ago, Spiro said the district began implementing intervention programs, giving students additional time for mastery of standards. That included enhancing upon what the kids were mastering, as well as going back and repeating something to master the standards.
“We are focusing on the gains that we are making here locally and helping our principals. We are working with our own schools,” Spiro said.
Really Great Reading K-3 is among the intervention programs implemented.
Executive Director of School Development Shanna Flecha said the program has helped a great deal, teaching students phonics and how to read.
“It’s specific for each grade level,” she said.
Spiro said they have focused on their academic plans, which suggests pacing, intervention and support throughout the entire system and subject areas. He said it’s about providing framework for what needs to be focused on inside of the classroom, as well as what methodology to use to provide that instruction to students in the classroom.
Flecha said this past year they implemented high-yield instructional strategies, which they will continue to use throughout the district, because it helps each student reach mastery to a standard.
They are looking at each student individually and providing specific needs within a tiered system to support the student.
“I really want to tip my hat to the teachers,” Spiro said. “They are patient, hardworking and dedicated.”
Spiro said test scores are just one way to measure success.
“We are continuing to make positive movements forward to help students increase their achievement level. I want to thank our teachers and principals,” he said.