Statewide assessment results show student performance still not recovered from the pandemic

Student hand testing doing test exam with pencil drawing selected choices on answer sheet in school final exams at college or university. Taking multiple choice for assessment in examination classroom
State officials highlighted better performance from Black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.

Scores on the 2022 statewide student assessment show that student performance has not risen to pre-pandemic levels in either language arts or math, with less than a third of ninth-through 12th-grade students performing in algebra at a satisfactory level or better.

The “COVID-19 slide appears to be a lingering effect when comparing 2019 scores to 2022’s, even though the state’s schools reopened sooner than most states in August 2020.

The state DOE’s Wednesday release of the statewide assessment results from English language arts and mathematics highlighted the gains of Black, Hispanic, and economically disadvantaged students from the previous year.

Every child deserves access to the best possible education available, regardless of income or background,” said Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “Today’s increases — spanning grade levels, subject areas, and demographics — would not have been possible without our hardworking teachers and staff and their dedication to student success.”

Diaz, newly installed as the head of the state’s Department of Education, also added: “Now is the time to double-down on our efforts to accelerate student outcomes.”

The scores, particularly for algebra performance in the upper grades, show plenty of room for improvement.

Overall, the number of ninth- through 12th-grade students getting satisfactory scores or better on the statewide assessment in algebra increased by one percentage point over the scores in 2021, so that 31% of test-takers reached that level. That compares to the 39% of students that scored satisfactorily or better on the assessment in 2019 — a drop of 8 percentage points in 2022.

Among all the subjects scored and presented in corresponding grade groupings Wednesday, the percentage of students scoring satisfactorily or better in high school algebra in 2022 represented the largest drop from 2019. But all categories of math and language arts scores showed drops in the percentage of students performing satisfactorily or better when compared with corresponding grade groupings in 2019.

The DOE’s release highlighted how the percentage of Black and Hispanic students performing at a satisfactory level or better is catching up to the percentage of White student performing at a satisfactory level or better.

Compared to 2021, the percentage of third- to eighth grade Black students scoring satisfactorily or better in mathematics increased by 6 percentage points in 2022, as did Hispanic students and students from economically disadvantaged families. Meanwhile, the overall percentage of students reaching a satisfactory level or better increased by a smaller amount: 4 percentage points more than 2021.

This year is expected to be the last that the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) will be administered.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • Tom

    June 30, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    America’s Governor, education Governor.
    Leading and making a difference in kids, parents lives. Improving education, along with expanding school voucher program for poor, minorities. Florida, DeSantis number 1.

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