SEBRING — The Highlands County school district’s middle school students, led by Sebring and Hill-Gustat middle schools, outperformed the state on average on the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade Math FCAT 2.0, according to test scores released Friday by the Florida Department of Education.
But, the School Board of Highlands County’s reading and science scores trailed the state.
In middle school math, at the sixth-grade level, statewide 53 percent of the students scored in Level Three or above, while the Highlands district average was 56 percent, with Hill-Gustat Middle at 62 percent, both Sebring and Lake Placid middle schools at 61 percent and Avon Park Middle at 42 percent.
The seventh-grade math scores showed the following percentages in Level Three and above: state 56 percent; Highlands 58 percent; and Sebring Middle 71 percent.
The eighth-grade math scores showed the following percentages in Level Three and above: state 47 percent; Highlands 49 percent; and Sebring Middle 66 percent.
But, the Highlands fifth- and eighth-grade Science FCAT 2.0 scores lagged far behind the state averages.
The percentage of students who took the science assessment who scored in Level Three and above follows: fifth-grade — state 54 percent and Highlands 40 percent; eighth-grade — state 49 percent and Highlands 37 percent.
Highlands trailed the state significantly in all seven grade levels, fourth- through 10th grade, on the Reading FCAT 2.0.
In an average of all seven grade levels, 57.7 percent scored in Level Three or above statewide with only 50.3 percent at Level Three or above in Highlands County.
The FCAT scores fall into five levels of achievement with Level Three considered “on grade level” and Level Five representing the highest level of achievement.
The FDOE reported that overall, statewide student achievement improved in most of the assessment areas released Friday. Compared to last year, students improved in reading by one percentage point in grades four, five, six, eight and 10.
In math, students improved by two percentage points in grade four and one percentage point in grades five, six and seven.
For science, students across the state improved two percentage points in grade eight and one percentage point in grade five.
Next year, a new assessment based on the Florida Standards will replace the FCAT 2.0. The Florida Standards for mathematics and English language arts stresses a broader approach for student learning, including an increased emphasis on analytical thinking. With the new and more rigorous standards, a new assessment was needed to measure student progress.
The third-grade reading and math scores and the writing scores were released by the FDOE on May 23.