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Gadsden students show marked improvement in state testing data

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By SCOTT J. BRYAN
The Gadsden County Times
Gadsden County Public Schools recently received some good news.
In late June, the Florida Department of Education released Florida Standards Assessment data for all school districts.
Gadsden County saw increases in students who scored 3 (adequate) or greater in almost every subject matter.
“We have a lot of work to do, but we saw a lot of improvement,” Gadsden County Public Schools Superintendent Roger Milton said.
Gadsden students saw the amount of students who scored 3 or higher increase in English, science and social studies. Testing scores improved for all math areas, as well, except geometry.
Gadsden saw a 7 percent improvement in Algebra for fourth- through eighth-graders, and a 9 percent increase for ninth- through 12th-graders in Algebra.
The biggest jump came in social studies. Students who scored 3 or higher in U.S. History jumped from 33 percent to 67 percent. Gadsden is only 2 percentage points below the state average.
“We looked at (the social studies improvement) and saw middle and high schools working collaboratively together,” Milton said. “Those instructors just did a phenomenal job. As we meet with them and administrators of schools, we’re looking at different strategies used and look to expand them.”
Gadsden also saw a 20 percent increase in students who scored 3 or higher in biology.
The Florida Standards Assessments are a measurement of students’ knowledge in specific subject areas. The scores are used to determine school grades, which could be released later this month.
Milton said he was pleased with the improvement, especially since Gadsden County experienced a hurricane in October.
“We had the hurricane, which was a huge distraction,” Milton said. “We had several other distractions throughout the school year. It shows our parents, teachers and students that there is a lot of work going on and a lot of great work being done.”
Milton said he hopes the improved scores serve as a catalyst for education in the community.
“I’m hoping that parents in particular realize we’re working really hard in all of our schools,” Milton said. “I’m hoping parents and the community see that with support and positive energy, we are very capable of moving this district forward. But it’s going to take all of us working together.”