English Language Arts scores among district third-graders improved this year but trailed the state average among the highest achievers.

The Florida Department of Education recently released results for third-graders on the ELA portion of the Florida Standard Assessment test.

Third-grade results are released first as promotion to fourth grade and/or a requirement to undertake a summer reading program hinge on the scores.

At Port St. Joe Elementary School, 62 percent of the 74 students tested scored at Level 3 or higher; Level 3 indicates learning achievement at grade level.

That placed the school ahead of the state average of 58 percent of students scoring Level 3 or above.

On the flip side, 32 percent of students at Port St. Joe Elementary scored at Level 1 or Level 2.

At Wewahitchka Elementary School, 42 percent of the 59 students tested scored a Level 3 or above, placing the school below the state average.

A majority, 58 percent, scored at Levels 1 or 2.

The district average of 53 percent puts it in range of the state average.

“That creates an attainable goal for next year,” said Superintendent of Schools Jim Norton.

Considered another way, the district’s 53 percent of students achieving at grade level is 7 percent above last year’s average of 46 percent.

“I commend the students, staff and administrators for all their hard work,” Norton said.

Three years ago, Gulf District third-graders scored 2 percent above the state average.

“That is an indication that our students have the intellectual capacity to perform quite well and score above the state average once again,” Norton said.

“We feel optimistic and look forward to that achievement in the coming year.”

The remainder of FSA scores, which is administered to students through the 10th grade, will be released later this summer.