How Sarasota and Manatee counties stack up in this year's statewide test results

·4 min read

Sarasota County Schools saw mixed results in the latest test results released by the Florida Department of Education this week. Reading scores dropped for the second consecutive year, and science scores also dropped, while math and social studies scores either increased or had little movement.

The district still performs above the state as a whole and ranks high in many subject areas.

Manatee County Schools either rose or stayed the same in every subject area. The district still hovers around the state average, achieving higher in math and parts of science and social studies.

Shannon Haddad working with students at Ashton Elementary School.
Shannon Haddad working with students at Ashton Elementary School.

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Manatee County Superintendent Cynthia Saunders said there is still room for improvement, specifically with reading scores.

“I thought we saw some really positive signs, especially in terms of our math results and our end-of-course exams,” Saunders said. “When you consider the obstacles our students and schools have been through the last three years, I am really impressed by the dedication and resiliency of our students, teachers and instructional staff.”

Sarasota district leadership acknowledged the reading and math scores, but held off on commenting until the full district grades are made available. District spokespeople were not immediately available for comment on the full scores because of a summer schedule that reduces staff hours.

While statewide test scores were released, overall grades for school districts are not yet available.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of the 2019-20 school year continued to have an impact on school learning since. Instruction during the pandemic has variously included a mix of remote learning, social distancing, masks and quarantining.

Here is how Sarasota and Manatee counties scored this year:

Sarasota County scores

Reading scores for Sarasota County fell across all age levels for a second year, according to state data released Tuesday.

The percentage of Sarasota County students who achieved a 3 or higher on the FSA English and Language Arts test dropped to 61%, down two percentage points. The district had already announced a three percentage-point decrease in reading scores at the third-grade level at the end of May.

The district still achieved nine percentage points higher scores than the state as a whole, and Sarasota County ranks third in the state behind St. Johns and Nassau counties.

District math achievement improved by one percentage point to 66%, leaving Sarasota County tied for fifth in the state. The county performed 11 percentage points better than the statewide result.

For science achievement, Sarasota County fifth-graders dropped two percentage points to 58%, and are now rank seventh in the state. They still performed 10 percentage points better than the statewide result.

Eighth-grade science achievement dropped to 56%, down three percentage points but still eight percentage points higher than the statewide result. Biology EOC scores went down to 70%, down two percentage points but still nine percentage points higher than the statewide result.

For the Civics EOC, 83% of Sarasota County students passed — up two percentage points from the previous year, and rank third in the state. The county performed 14 percentage points higher than the statewide standard.

For the U.S. History EOC, 72% of Sarasota County students passed — down one percentage point and tied for eighth in the state. The county still achieved seven percentage points higher than the statewide standard.

Manatee County scores

Reading achievement at all ages for Manatee County maintained the same 50% pass rate as last year — two percentage points lower than the statewide standard.

Math achievement for all levels increased one percentage point to 59% — four percentage points higher than the statewide standard.

Grade 5 science achievement rose three percentage points to 51% — three percentage points higher than the statewide standard. Grade 8 science achievement rose one percentage point to 46%, which is lower than the state standard of 48%. Biology EOC achievement stayed at 62%, one percentage point higher than the statewide standard.

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Civics EOC achievement rose four percentage points to 74% — five percentage points higher than the statewide achievement level. The U.S. History EOC achievement rose two percentage points to 64%, which is one percentage point lower than the statewide standard.

In a news release, the Florida Department of Education said that compared to 2021, students overall improved in Social Studies and "remained relatively consistent in Science on the statewide assessments."

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Florida DOE releases Sarasota and Manatee schools test scores