Christopher Saul

Christopher Saul

Mid Bay News

Editor’s note – as more data comes in for more grades and schools, we will add to this story. 

A news release sent by Superintendent Marcus Chambers announced Okaloosa County third grade students received lower scores than in 2021 on the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) English Language Arts Exam.

The release said the results of the FSA were “encouraging, but not without opportunities for improvement.”

Typically, Okaloosa County Schools are considered some of the best in the state. Many of the schools have been considered ‘A’ rated by the Florida Department of Education for many years running. 

Formal Portrait of a Man
Okaloosa County Schools Superintendent Marcus Chambers

Digging into Okaloosa County's Performance Numbers on the FSA

According to the information supplied, Okaloosa County ranked 12th out of 67 districts in the state: 58% of students scored a ‘satisfactory’ grade or higher. Last year’s cohort of third graders had 63% of students score a ‘satisfactory’ grade. 

In the past, the release noted, Okaloosa’s third-graders ranked 8th in the state in 2021 and 15th in 2019. The State did not give the FSA in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Superintendent Marcus Chambers said “It was a challenging year in Okaloosa County, and the same can be said of districts throughout Florida. I have tremendous respect and appreciation for our school administrators, teachers, and educational support professionals who worked tirelessly with our students in a difficult year to help them achieve the results they did. It’s great to be in the top tier of school districts in Florida, but my expectations, and the expectations of our employees, are even higher than that.”


An Improvement Plan

The release says principals and their staffs began “the necessary work to emphasize areas of strength and to continue to reinforce where loss has created gaps for students.” The district says plans include:

  • Expanded summer school to include any student in need, not only those facing possible retention
  • Increased opportunities for one-on-one tutoring for students during and after the school day in the fall
  • Targeted use of student data to prescribe individualized learning opportunities
  • Additional ELA and Math Coaches to support teacher development to better impact student learning
  • Additional mental health support for students

Parents can contact their child’s school for more information about learning opportunities this summer and beyond.

A more complete academic picture for 2021-2022 will come into focus when the remaining state assessment results for grades 4-10 are released in the coming weeks. Schools will be able to see not only how many students are proficient, but also who made adequate learning gains. Learning gains are measured as making at least a year’s worth of growth in a year’s time. “Historically, Okaloosa’s overall performance exceeds our Grade 3 results, and we look forward to sharing that data when it arrives,” noted Chambers.

Students in class
Okaloosa County School District Logo
Okaloosa County School District Logo
A teacher instructs a student

How Did Niceville-Valparaiso Third Graders Perform On the FSA?

Niceville students performed exceptionally well compared to other school districts around the state and other schools in Okaloosa County. On average, 53% of a Florida school district’s third-graders scored a ‘satisfactory’ rating. Only one school’s third-graders scored below that in the Niceville-Valparaiso area; 47% of Addie Lewis’ cohort of third graders earned a satisfactory rating. The Lewis School serves the students who live in Valparaiso. 

RELATED: Okaloosa School Board Names Fort Walton Beach High School Assistant Principal Lindsay Smith the new principal at the Lewis School.

Edge Elementary and Eglin Elementary’s students earned ‘satisfactory’ ratings at 60% and 64%, respectively. 

Plew Elementary saw 73% of their students earn a satisfactory rating or higher on the FSA, which was a better rating than all but one school district in the state, St. John’s. St. John’s county is immediately south of Jacksonville and includes the city of St. Augustine. 

Finally, Bluewater Elementary had the third-highest percentage of students earning a ‘satisfactory’ rating on this portion of the FSA. 78% of Bluewater Elementary Students earned a ‘satisfactory’ rating or higher on the test. Only Liza Jackson Preparatory School (79%) and Northwest Florida Ballet Academie (83%) earned higher scores. Both of those schools have an admissions process. 


The FSA Logo. The FSA system will be discontinued after this year, thanks to legislation passed in the 2022 session.

The End of the FSA

This is the last year that the FSA will be given. New legislation authorizes the replacement of the year-end FSA with the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST), a progress monitoring approach that will provide teachers and parents with information throughout the school year rather than during the summer.

for more information on the FSA, check out this primer.

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