SEBRING - One-fifth of Highlands County third graders scored at Level 1 in a high-stakes reading test, results released Friday show.
Third-grade students who earn a Level 1 in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test risk being held back, though they can be promoted through other measures, such as passing a summer class.
To be considered proficient, a student must earn a Level 3 or above. A student who scores Level 2 scores needs extra attention but that doesn't affect promotion to the fourth grade.
While 51 percent of Highlands County third-graders scored in Level 3 and above in reading, the math scores were higher at 62 percent.
Locally, Sun 'n Lake Elementary School had the highest percentage of third-graders who scored at Level 3 and above in reading, while Lake Placid Elementary School had the highest percentage in math, results show.
Fred Wild Elementary School had the lowest percentage of third-graders who scored Level 3 and above in reading while it was Memorial Elementary School for math.
Statewide, third-grade math and reading scores on Florida's standardized test have remained static, while writing scores show a significant jump.
Results show less than two-thirds of Florida's third grade students are performing at a satisfactory level in math and reading on the FCAT. There was a 1 percent increase in reading scores and no improvement in math.
The Florida Department of Education also released scores for the FCAT in writing. Those results show 58 percent of students in grades four, eight and 10 scored at or above a 3.5, the standard used for school grades. That's an increase of four percentage points over the previous school year.
In Highlands County, 58 percent of fourth-graders scored 3.5 and above in their writing FCAT. The percentages were slightly lower for eight-graders and 10th-graders. While 53 percentage of 10th graders scored 3.5 and above in their writing assessment, it was 51 percent for eight-graders.
In 2012, the State Board of Education established 3.5 as the school grades standard for writing performance beginning in 2013; the standard last year was 3.0.
Commissioner Tony Bennett said the flat third-grade reading performance requires attention and vowed to work with districts.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.