JPEF Releases Report on Reading Proficiency in Duval County | Politics

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JPEF Releases Report on Reading Proficiency in Duval County
Politics, Schools

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund released a study on the reading proficiency of a cohort of more than 10,000 students over the past ten years Sunday, seeking to investigate the academic trajectories of students based on their third grade reading level.

The study confirmed longstanding research that reading on grade level by third grade is imperative to future academic success. Simply getting to a performance level 3 on the FCAT, however, is not sufficient, and more than half of these borderline students fall back below proficiency by their 10th grade year.

Of those students who aren't reading on grade level by the end of third grade, very few--less than 6 percent of them--improved to read on grade level in 10th grade, and those that did improve their performance overwhelmingly made that progress in either fourth or fifth grade.

Also revealed in the report is that to ensure that students remain above proficiency through the upper grades, it is important to target a performance level 4 in third grade for all students, and continue to provide additional, intensive reading instruction to all students with performance levels of 1, 2 and 3 in elementary and middle school.

These findings support a strong literacy focus in early elementary grades, and improving intervention for third-grade students scoring below grade level. Both are key tenets of the Duval County Public Schools’ upcoming Read it Forward Jacksonville campaign, which will officially kick off Tuesday morning at Matthew Gilbert Middle School.

“We applaud the school district and school board for taking on this crucial issue,” said JPEF President Trey Csar. “Students must learn to read by third grade so that they can effectively read to learn for the rest of their lives.”

Copies of the report are available on JPEF’s web site at, along with an online bonus article and links to literacy resources. Hard copies of the report are available by request to individuals or community groups who wish to distribute them to interested parties.

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