Gadsden County Schools hit high marks on math scores again.
The third grade scores on the FCAT are in and Gadsden now ranks first in the Big Bend region and second in the state, tying for that slot with St. John, Santa Rosa and Baker counties. The four districts scored 71. The state average is 58.
Union and Dixie counties were tied for first place in the state with a score of 73.
Gadsden Elementary Magnet School was the only school scoring 100 in the state.
Two schools scored above 80 with Gretna Elementary scoring 85 and Crossroad Academy scoring an 82.
In a recent interview with Superintendent Reginald James he spoke about the districts’s scores.
He said he was pleased with the continued progress the schools were making in math.
James said this is the first year of raised standards, making the grades even that more important to the district.
They have raised the bar in several different categories, making it more difficult, especially in writing scores, he said.
He continued that Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) populations are now added to the equation. Historically, those students were not a part of the school and district scoring statewide.
There is going to be a difference in school grades this year as well, he stated.
The anticipated lower grades across the state have been widely publicized, James added.
He said that schools that have been scoring in the 90s are now scoring in the 60s and 70s because of the changes.
These changes, he said, are expected by the state.
The state, he explained, is saying that over time, these grades will improve.
“We will adjust to the new standards,” James said about his plans for the district.
Statewide they are expecting fewer “A” schools and are going to see a doubling of the “F” schools, he said.
2013 is the last year of the FCAT testing for Florida students.
Concerning the future, James said the district and the state will be moving to the Common Core Standards testing that is being adopted by Florida and is now in place in 47 other states.
This is a state standards test in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12 developed by governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, 2 territories and the District of Columbia.
This, James said, brings districts across the nation in line with testing standards.
The test, he explained, will have fewer standards but will require more critical thinking.
There will be a lot of information coming out over the next few months for students and parents to better help them understand what the new testing criteria will be, he said.
New text books are also expected next year as well to help prepare students for what he has tagged as the new “Common Core Era.”
There will be training over the summer for teachers.
Although Gadsden County scored well with math, third grade reading scores were down.
The district scored 41 percent against the state’s 57 percent average.
James said the low score was something the district was already working on with a new approach to reading that included changes in students’ books.
You can see this interview on our webpage, havanaherald.net, or at our Facebook page, Havana Herald, starting Friday, June 7.