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Alachua County third-grade reading performance continues to drop

BY LEN CABRERA

Third Grade Florida Standards Assessments scores for English Language Arts for the 2021-22 school year are now available from the Florida Department of Education. Reading performance in Alachua County continued to drop this year, and the performance gap between Alachua County third-graders and the rest of the state is growing.

School performance is reported as the percentage of students who score “satisfactory” or better (i.e., score 3 or higher on a scale of 1 to 5). For the 2021-22 school year, only 50% of Alachua County third-graders scored 3 or better, compared to 53% for the state. These are down from 52.5% for Alachua County and 54.4% for the state in the 2020-21 school year.

The data are not yet broken down demographically or by other indicators like English Language Learner status, so we don’t yet know about the black-white performance gap. However, the performance gap between Alachua County and the rest of the state has been growing since the 2017-18 school year. The 2014-15 school year was the last time Alachua County third-graders performed better than the rest of the state.

Of the 31 Alachua County schools listed in the results, 9 had less than 40% of third-graders with satisfactory or better performance (the results for Sidney Lanier Center are suppressed in the table because of the low number of third-graders, but it is one of the nine); three schools were below 20%–Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Myra Terwilliger, and The Einstein School. .

Four Alachua County schools were above 75%: Talbot Elementary, Caring & Sharing Learning School, Alachua Learning Academy, and Expression Learning Arts Academy. Three of these (all except Talbot) are charter schools.

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Here are the results for Alachua County by school, ranked from lowest to highest in percentage of third-graders at Level 3 or above (this is the “School Scores for All Curriculum Groups” Grade 3 (Excel) file on the website linked at the start of this article):

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