Pensacola, Florida
Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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FCAT SCORES DROP

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Escambia County Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas and the Florida Association of District Superintendents aren’t happy with the 2010 FCAT results. They believe that the results don’t accurately report the gains in fourth and fifth grading because that 2010 test is more aligned to the 2008 and that learning gains should be measured using the 2008 score, not 2009. Florida’s Commissioner of Education didn’t agree, and the 2010 results were upheld.

When one looks at the 2010 FCAT scores for Escambia County, you can see why Superintendent Thomas is upset. Only nine middle and elementary schools improved their total points over the 2009 FCAT scores. Two of those, Pensacola Beach Elementary and Beulah Academy of Science, are charter schools.

The five public elementary schools that improved are Ensley, O. J. Semmes, Oakcrest, Pine Meadow and Reinherdt Holm. Two middle schools, Brown Barge and Warrington, improved.

The highest performing non-charter elementary schools were Pine Meadow, A.K. Suter and N.B. Cook. The lowest performing ones were Montclair, which is the county’s only “F” school, West Pensacola and C.A. Weis.

The highest performing non-charter middle schools were Ernest Ward and Ransom. The lowest performing ones were Bellview and Woodham.

In total, Escambia County elementary and middle school grades were 11 A’s, 11 B’s, 19 C’s, four D’s and one F. Santa Rosa County had 15 A’s, four B’s and one C. The high school grades will be released in the fall.

Warrington Middle School was declared in April 2009 by Superintendent Thomas as “Escambia County’s Turnaround School.” A month later the 2009 FCAT scores were released, which showed the faculty had improved the school’s grade from a “D” to a “C.” In 2007, the school had been a “D” and had been placed on the state’s intervention list.

Despite the improvement, Thomas transferred the principal, hired 58 new teachers and pumped $1.5 million of federal stimulus dollars into Warrington Middle School. The result was a three-point increase in the total FCAT points, from 455 to 458, and the school maintained its “C” grade. The school finished two points higher than Woodham Middle School, which saw its total score drop 30 points, from 486 to 456.

Malcolm Thomas’ tenure is starting off poorly when it comes to FCAT. The IN sees why he protested the grading system. The good news is that he has two years to improve the scores before the 2012 elections.