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.
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
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.
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.
department touted Floridas 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 exams results instead will help policymakers
understand the reading achievements and deficiencies of Floridas Grade 3
from other statewide assessments will be published no later than July 31,
according to the department.