Florida Phoenix | By Danielle J. Brown | August 29, 2022
In Florida’s public schools, the 10th grade statewide English Language Arts assessment has been a crucial exam — kids have to pass it to get a standard high school diploma.
But the 2022 spring exam results show that fewer than half of Florida’s 10th graders passed the ELA exam, troubling because students will be getting closer to entering the workforce or going to college.
Will they be able to read and write well?
Overall, 49 percent of 10th graders got a passing score of at least 3 on the spring ELA exam. In total, 202,900 10th graders took the exam, according to data from the Florida Department of Education.
That’s based on a score of 3 or higher, which the department considers to be “satisfactory—may need additional support for the next grade/course.”
Even worse, ELA results went down in 2022. In spring 2021, out of 186,374 students, 51 percent of 10th graders passed the ELA.
On top of that, passing the exam doesn’t mean students are proficient in reading and writing. It takes a 4 or 5 score to show that students are proficient on the ELA exam.
According to the state data, only about 28 percent of 10th graders who took the spring ELA in 2022 earned a score of 4 or 5, meaning they were “proficient” or had a “mastery” of concepts on the 10th grade English exam.
The 10th grade ELA exam assesses skills related to English grammar and other conventions, reading and writing.
That means analyzing how word choice or phrasing can affect texts, understanding English grammar and spelling, and reading passages to evaluate arguments, according to documents from the Florida Department of Education.
There’s also a writing portion of the ELA.
The exam challenges 10th graders to “draw relevant evidence from various texts to support a claim or controlling idea and produce clear and coherent writing with development, organization, and style appropriate to task, purpose, and audience,” among other measures.
Out of Florida’s 67 county-based school districts, the school district in St. John’s County, in Northeast Florida on the Atlantic coast, had the highest percentage of students who passed the 10th grade ELA, with 71 percent of students earning a 3 or higher.
The school district with the lowest percent of passing ELA scores in 2022 was Jefferson County, located in the North Florida, with only 15 percent of 10th graders passing the exam.
Spring 2022 was the last time the FSA was issued for math and English statewide exams. The next round of exams will be under the state’s new progress monitoring exam system called the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking, or F.A.S.T. for short.
In this new testing system, there will be three exams throughout the 2022-23 school year. Two of them are considered diagnostic exams to see how students are progressing. The third exam is the end-of-year cumulative and comprehensive assessment for reading and math, and that will be the exam that is used for graduation requirements.