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Results of the Grade 3 Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) English Language Arts (ELA) exam were released by the Florida Department of Education last week, and the news for Okaloosa County students was encouraging but not without opportunities for improvement.

Okaloosa County ranked 12th out of 67 districts on the Grade 3 FSA ELA with 58% of students scoring Level 3 (satisfactory) or higher, down from 63% last year. Eight of the districts that rank ahead of Okaloosa also saw declines in proficiency among 3rd graders. Historically, Okaloosa 3rd graders ranked 8th and 15th in 2021 and 2019, respectively. State assessments were not given in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
“It was a challenging year in Okaloosa County, and the same can be said of districts throughout Florida,” said Superintendent Marcus Chambers.  “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.”
Principals and their staffs have begun the necessary work to emphasize areas of strength and to continue to reinforce where learning loss has created gaps for students. 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.
For more information on the FSA, please visit
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.
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