St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Florida
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
  • Late addition requires helmets for scooter riders
  • Be proud of election law, Bush says
  • Al Gore at ease in return to stage
  • Florida students compare nationally

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story

    printer version

    Florida students compare nationally


    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 10, 2001

    While educators are busy analyzing the just-released FCAT scores that contribute to their school's A-through-F grade, there is a whole mountain of other test scores not getting much attention.

    They are called norm-referenced tests, and they provide a simple and clear method of comparing our students to their peers around the nation.

    This year, it looks like Florida kids stack up pretty well.

    With the scores on this test, the national average is always 50. Anything above that mark means students are performing better than more than half their peers around the country.

    In math especially, Florida students scored well above the national average. In all but three grade levels the reading scores also were better than the national average.

    These scores don't draw as much attention nor carry as much weight as the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores, which also were released Tuesday. They do not figure into school grades. There are no monetary rewards from the state for good scores.

    But these scores are easier to understand and are of great help in putting the academic performance of Florida public school students into perspective.

    "I think that's the piece that's meaningful to people; they want to know how our kids did nationally," said Sam Whitten, supervisor of testing for the Hillsborough County schools.

    Last year, the first time the state gave this test in grades three through 10, some of the scores were a mess. The reading scores in grades nine and 10 were so low, the state refused to release them and conducted an investigation to find out what happened. They never did figure it out, but the scores rebounded to normal -- though not impressive -- ranges this year.

    Tampa Bay area districts did very well, compared to their peers nationally and around the state.

    For instance, Citrus County's seventh graders scored 71 in math and Hillsborough's seventh graders scored a 68, well above the state average of 61 and the national average of 50. Hernando County students were above the state and national averages in all areas except 10th-grade math.

    Pinellas and Pasco students were above state and national averages in all areas except fifth-grade math. Interestingly, fifth-grade math is the only area in which Pinellas and Pasco students did not improve on the FCAT this year.

    Though these scores are not used in Florida's accountability system, starting next year they will help Florida determine how students progress academically from one year to the next.


    Find your district or school scores on the Internet at Click on 2001 FCAT Scores and then look for 2001 FCAT Norm Referenced Test Scores.

    Back to State news
    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
    Special Links
    Lucy Morgan

    From the Times state desk