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PIE scores among highest on Florida Standards test

May 31, 2017
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle


Pine Island Elementary School was among Lee County's highest scoring public schools on the Florida Standards Assessment English Language Arts test.

County schools with the highest percentage of students scoring a 3 or above included Pine Island Elementary School and the Sanibel School and with 97 percent; Oasis Elementary School in Cape Coral with 84 percent; Three Oaks Elementary School in Fort Myers with 82 percent and Christa McAuliffe Charter Elementary School in Cape Coral with 81 percent.

A score of 3 or above is the proficiency ranking required by the state for student promotion to fourth grade. The test focuses on key ideas and details; craft structure; integration of knowledge and ideas and language and editing. The key ideas and details focuses on comprehension, analyzing and summarizing information and concepts, while the craft structure portion of the exam has students interpret literal and non-literal words and phases.

FSA testing is in its third year, replacing the old FCAT.

"We are excited about the first release of test scores," Pine Island Elementary School principal Steven Hook said. "This is a positive verification of the hard work and dedication of our students and staff. These test scores are a result of a team effort by an outstanding third grade team, the support staff that works with our students and assist them daily and all the teachers who came before them. Pine Island Elementary and the island who supports them can all be proud.

"We are extra proud of the fact that, being a title one school this year, we can perform at the highest level with an outstanding school like Sanibel," he continued. "Our efforts to be positive, kind and caring coupled with high expectations is a testament to our entire staff."

According to the Florida Department of Education, 7,641 third grade students in Lee County were tested for the Florida Standards Assessments for English Language Arts. Out of those students, 57 percent scored a three or above. In 2016, 7,521 third grade students were tested for an average of 54 percent scoring a three, or above, a 3 percentage point gain year over year.

The state percentage was 58 percent of third graders scoring a three, or above for 2017, and 54 percent for 2016.

School District of Lee County School Board Chairman Mary Fischer said that's a percentage they would expect to be the norm. That even with the rigorous testing, she said it is great the district was able to achieve the 57 percent and hopes to continue to move that number upward.

Fischer said she is happy with the increase because four "turnaround" schools had significant gains. Those schools include Colonial Elementary School, an improvement of 12 percentage points; Manatee Elementary School, an improvement of 11 percentage points; James Stephens International Academy, an improvement of 10 percentage points and Franklin Park Elementary School, an improvement of 16 percentage points from the year prior.

In addition, Fischer said 31 elementary schools increased their percentage points of students receiving a three or higher on the test.

"I feel really confident that we are on the right track with the way we are teaching our standards," Fischer said.

The approach was to dig a little deeper into understanding the concept while reading, which she said seems to be paying off.

A level three performance is considered satisfactory, "may need additional support for the next grade/course," by the FLDOE. Level four, proficient, is defined as "likely to excel in the next grade/course. The fifth level, mastery, is defined by FLDOE as "highly likely to excel in the next grade/course."

Level 2 is below satisfactory, "likely to need substantial support for the next grade/course:" and level 1 is below satisfactory, 'Likely to need substantial support for the next grade/course."

In Lee County, 19 percent of third grade students taking the test scored at Level 1, 24 percent scored at Level 2, 29 percent scored at level 3, 20 percent scored at Level 4 and 8 percent scored at Level 5.

Fischer said the district will continue to focus on the standards and really emphasize the importance of reading through more opportunities. She said the district is really focused on Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins Vision 2020.

"Our main goal is to improve student achievement . . . additional coaching and teaching. More professional development for our teachers and more support for our kids," she said.

Fischer said Adkins moved personnel from the district office back into the schools to work directly with the students, which she believes has paid off.

According to the Lee County School District individual score reports will be available late June, early July pending distribution by the FLDOE at the schools.

Fischer said the district is ranked third out of 10 mega districts in the State of Florida following the last administration of the ELA.

"We are really pleased we are on the right track and will continue to work with the kids in the same way," she said.



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