Hernando FCAT scores dip from 2006

However, the lower scores don't reverse an upward trend seen over the past five years.

Published May 3, 2007

BROOKSVILLE - The latest reading and math scores were good news Wednesday for Hernando County's third- and 12th-graders, as long as you ignored what occurred last year.

Last year, both statewide and in Hernando, third-graders rang the bell with record gains on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

This year scores dropped a bit, but not enough to reverse an upward trend over the past five years.

"We're still doing better than we were in 2003," said curriculum coordinator Deborah Pfenning, who oversees K-12 reading. "That's the way I look at it."

Both the third-grade tests and retakes for seniors are particularly significant because they help determine which students get held back in third grade or are blocked from receiving a standard diploma under state regulations.

In third-grade reading, 16 percent of students scored at the lowest level, up 6 percentage points from last year but still better than the 18 percent of students at that level in 2003. In math, 9 percent of students scored at that level, up 1 point from last year but better than the 13 percent in 2003 and 2004.

Districtwide, Hernando third-graders performed better than students from every county in the region but Citrus, with 74 percent at the "proficient" level or better in reading, and 76 percent at those levels in math. That performance put the district 5 percentage points above the state average in reading and 2 points above average in math.

Pfenning said the strategy of putting reading coaches into most elementary schools and conducting reading instruction programs for teachers seemed to be paying off.

Among seniors, 21 percent passed the reading section of their FCAT retake this year, and 36 percent passed in math, an improvement of 3 and 5 percentage points, respectively, compared with last year's seniors.

Hernando seniors ranked third in the state among those passing the math portion and seventh for reading.

For full student and school reports, visit www.fldoe.org/.

Tom Marshall can be reached at tmarshall@sptimes.com or 352 848-1431.