Results for Florida’s annual science exams taken by 3rd, 8th, and 11th graders were released today. The good news? Scores overall improved since last year. The bad news? The rise in scores is small, and 50 percent of our state’s students aren’t proficient in science. I’m tired of being a broken record here, so I’ll just link to my coverage of previous years’ scores (2008, 2009, 2010). It’s all disappointingly the same old story.
Today’s write up in the Orlando Sentinel opens with a focus on science, which is refreshing.
Florida students did better this year on the FCAT science exams, though fewer than half of those tested scored at grade level, results released this morning showed.
“I’m very encouraged by the continued progress we are seeing in science, but the overall performance of our students is still far too low,” said Education Commissioner Eric Smith.
Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 take the FCAT science exam. This year, 51 percent of fifth graders scored at grade level — earning a 3 or better on the five-level test — while 46 percent of eighth graders and 40 percent of 11th graders did as well.
The science scores were the highest since that FCAT exam was first given in 2003, increasing two to three percentage points at each grade level from last year.
The St. Petersburg Times’ story talks about science, too:
All three science FCATs were also used for the last time. In the future, the state will rely on science end-of-course exams in high school. It will roll out FCAT 2.0 versions of the fifth- and eighth-grade science tests next year.
Statewide, students showed improvement on all three science tests, but in no grade did more than 51 percent of students score at grade level or above.
“I’m very encouraged by the continued progress we are seeing in science, but the overall performance of our students is still far too low,” Smith said in a written statement. “Important changes have recently been made to accelerate this progress, including increased graduation requirements that include critical science courses, our next generation curriculum standards that hone in on core science concepts and our Race to the Top win that has given us additional resources to concentrate on this vital subject area.”