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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Test results are in: Marion students show significant academic growth

Throughout the 2022-23 school year, students in Marion County showed significant growth in academic areas that were tested in the nation’s first statewide progress monitoring system.

Launched in August of 2022, progress monitoring involves testing students at regular intervals during the school year instead of annually toward the end of each year. According to Marion County Public Schools, this new assessment system means that comparisons are more accurate when made within the same year instead of year-to-year results for different students in different grade levels.

The goal of progress monitoring is to measure each student’s growth within the same academic year.

The Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) tool provides the platform for progress monitoring for English Language Arts (voluntary prekindergarten through 10th grade) and mathematics (kindergarten through 8th grade). FAST assessments are aligned to the Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (BEST) and are administered three times per school year.

Here are some highlights for MCPS from the 2022-23 school year:

  • Overall, students in grades 3 through 10 demonstrated 16 percentage points of growth in English Language Arts. The largest increases (23 percentage points) came from both third and fourth graders.
  • Overall, students in grades 3 through 8 demonstrated 39 percentage points of growth in math. The largest increase (47 percentage points) was by fourth graders.

Other subject areas remain based on annual testing, including several End of Course (EOC) exams. The latest results for MCPS students showed the following:

  • Fifth graders improved their science scores by five percentage points over the previous school year, surpassing the state’s three-point gain.
  • Biology EOC exam scores increased by five percentage points over the previous school year, which also outpaced the state’s three-point gain.
  • U.S. History EOC exam scores increased by two percentage points, while the state saw a three-point decline.

Year-over-year comparisons for FAST and BEST End of Course assessments will be available next year when all subjects have been tested for two consecutive years.

The Florida Department of Education will adopt assessment cut scores this fall to calculate school grades, which are expected later this winter.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Education’s “Assessments” webpage.