tampabay.com

Local students outscore peers across country

The school superintendent praises county schools that exceeded the national average.

By JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK
Published May 18, 2007


LAND O'LAKES - The latest round of FCAT scores came out Thursday. But they're the ones that don't count for much.

This group is called the norm-referenced test, which basically compares Florida students to kids across the country who took the same exam, called the Stanford 10. In Pasco, as across most of the state, children outperformed their peers nationally.

Superintendent Heather Fiorentino noted that some grade levels logged in more than 20 percentile points above the national average, while the lowest-performing group - 10th-graders on the reading section - still were in the 59th percentile. (The 50th percentile is the national norm.)

Fiorentino also specifically praised the dozen county schools that exceeded the national average in both reading and math in all grade levels. They were Denham Oaks, Long Leaf, Pine View, Sand Pine, Trinity, Trinity Oaks and Wesley Chapel elementary schools; Seven Springs, John Long and Pine View middle schools; and J.W. Mitchell and Land O'Lakes high schools.

"This achievement reflects the hard work of our teachers and staff, as well as our continued commitment to excellence," Fiorentino said in a news release.

The news was not without its downside. Fourth and 10th-graders across the state performed significantly lower this year in reading than last year's students in those grades.

Luckily for all involved, the norm-referenced test does not affect school grades or student promotion, except in the case of third-graders who want to use its results in place of failing FCAT reading scores.

Next up: the state plans to release the FCAT math, reading and science scores for fourth through 10th grades in a week. That will leave only school grades and adequate yearly progress ratings unreported.

Last year, they came in late June, and that's the expected time frame again this year.