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Pinellas schools outpace state average in testing results

Ashley Morales



Photo: Ben Mullins/Unsplash.

Administrators at Pinellas County Schools are celebrating the district’s performance in the latest round of state assessments.

Results of the assessments were released by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) July 1. The district surpassed state averages in multiple grade levels and subject areas, including math and language arts.

In English Language Arts, PCS achieved a 56% proficiency rate for grades 3-10 on the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) assessments, outpacing the state average. Pinellas students in grades 3-5 and 6-8 were above the state average, and grades 9-10 were on par with the state average.

In Mathematics, PCS students scored 58% proficiency across grades 3-12 on FAST and End-of-Course (EOC) assessments. In Science, the district outpaced the state with 64% (grade 5) and 51% (grade 8) proficiency in Florida Statewide Science Assessments.

In Social Studies, the district outpaced the state by demonstrating 73% proficiency in Civics EOC assessments and narrowed the gap with the state in US History with 66% proficiency. Pinellas County Schools ranked first in Civics among large districts and 15th overall. The district also noted an increase of seven percentage points over the previous year’s results.

“We’re really pleased with the results,” said Pinellas County Schools Superintendent Kevin Hendrick. “I think the improvements that we see in English Language Arts and Mathematics are definitely a result of great focus by our teachers and students in the classroom, and we’re really proud of the effort and results that we achieved.”

The district noted that while the state is recognizing a narrowing of student achievement gaps, the data released this week does not allow the district to immediately assess achievement gaps by sub-groups. District leaders anticipate the FDOE will issue school and district grades following state-determined cut scores being set in late July.

In a media release, Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. noted assessments “demonstrate substantial student growth throughout the school year and notable year-over-year improvement across the state.”

Diaz also noted that, unlike traditional “high stakes” testing at the end of the year, progress monitoring provides teachers, students and parents with real-time, immediate and actionable data at the beginning, middle and end of the school year to drive student improvement. The state hopes this will enable immediate adjustments to teaching methods and improved communication between educators and families.

While Hendricks said the district is happy with the results Pinellas students achieved, the state tests are not the only way PCS measures student and educator success.

“This is just one part [of] a larger vision for how students experience school,” Hendricks said. “We want them to have fun; we want them to take field trips, develop friendships, grow, learn and mature in different ways, and certainly, academically is one of those. So this is a kind of benchmark in terms of the annual measurement of student progress academically, but certainly, students in the school district make achievements and strides each and every day.”

The full visit 2023-24 assessment results are available online here.


1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Steven Brady

    July 9, 2024at4:11 am

    So this means that 44% of children not being proficient in English, meaning they can’t communicate properly, and 42% not being proficient at math, a skill necessary for daily living, and we are supposed to celebrate that?

    I must be missing something. Are they celebrating because it was worse before?

    It’s very telling when they use averages to tell us how children are performing instead of whether they meet the standard for their age and grade. Those two things aren’t the same.

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