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ABC 3rd graders exceed state reading average

negative effect of the coronavirus pandemic on language arts scores among Franklin
County third graders this past spring appears to have hit the Franklin County
Schools much harder than it did the Apalachicola Bay Charter School.

Florida Department of Education reported that 54 percent of third-grade
students statewide this year scored a “satisfactory” or above on the state
English-language arts exam, a 4 percentage-point decrease from 2019 when the
exam was last administered.

In Franklin
County, the district-wide decline in proficiency over 2019 was a significant 16
percentage points, as it dropped from 50 percent to 34 percent, which was the
lowest percentage of third graders achieving proficiency over the last six

At Franklin
County Elementary, 20 percent of the third graders scored at above a level 3, which
is 34 percentage points beneath the state average. Slightly more than half the
61 students tested scored a 1, which frequently calls for students having to
enroll in summer school or risk being held back a grade.

At the
Apalachicola Bay Charter School, 61 percent of the third graders scored a 3 or
better, considered to be at grade level or above. This was 7 percentage points
better than the state average. More than one-quarter of the students scored at
level 4 or 5, considered to be ahead of grade level proficiency.

The state
department touted Florida’s results as evidence of the importance of keeping
schools open through the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a news
release accompanying the results, the department wrote that despite the
decrease, “the data clearly shows that, on average, districts with higher rates
of in-person instruction weathered the ‘COVID slide’ better and saw lesser
declines between 2019 and 2021 than districts with higher rates of virtual

an emergency order issued by the department in April, accountability measures
were waived for all state exams administered to students this year. The
department said Tuesday that the exam’s results instead will “help policymakers
understand the reading achievements and deficiencies of Florida’s Grade 3

from other statewide assessments will be published no later than July 31,
according to the department.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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