Students improve scores on FSA exams but are still below the pre-pandemic level

FSA Exam – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Dmitry Demidovich

The results are officially in and students throughout the Sunshine State improved their scores in the last year of the Florida Standards Assessments (FSA).

In Palm Beach County, scores increased compared to last year on the FSA, however, they are still under pre-pandemic levels. That includes math, the seemingly harder subject for students. Scores show that it is one of the most difficult subjects to overcome. 

Math tends to be a concerning problem for many students, such as Tyler Cohen.

“I came here three times a week every single week. It was just amazing,” Cohen said.

Mathnasium, a math tutoring center, helped Cohen study hard to prepare for the FSA and learn skills that simply weren’t adding up for him.

“During the FSA when diagnostic scores come out or testing scores come out, we have a lot of parents reach out because they see if their students are behind and they want that extra support to help them do better on the test,” said Toni Pancione, an area manager for Mathnasium.

Pancione said Mathnasium had record-high enrollment over the last year.

“It seemed like their math skills were stopped where COVID started,” Pancione said.

But all the extra work put into preparing for the exam seems to be paying off as FSA math scores increased this year in nearly every grade level and across five-county viewing areas.

Let’s look at fourth-grade math as an example. This year, 59 percent of Palm Beach County fourth-graders scored a three or higher. Last year, that number was less than half at only 46 percent. But back in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was 67 percent.

“I’m sure that everyone being in school was part of that,” said Stacey Rowe, a Palm Beach County teacher who spends time providing afterschool homework help and free tutoring at the Mandel Public Library in downtown West Palm Beach.

Rowe stated that all the extra support for students is making a huge difference.

“I think parents are taking it more seriously and asking for more help and using those resources more,” Rowe said.

This year was the last time students took the FSA. Next school year, statewide standardized testing will switch over to a progress monitoring system with testing spaced out at different periods throughout the year.

Florida school districts expect the social studies and science FSA scores to be released sometime on Thursday.

To see county-by-county results from this year’s FSA exams, click here.

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