TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Education’s Kindergarten Readiness Screener was released, showing a year over year comparison for how ready the state’s kindergarteners were to start school.

The average in Florida for Fall 2020 was 57%.

The state’s test score records show the total number of future students who took the test and how many scored over 500, the minimum score to show a student is “ready for kindergarten.”

Of the 133,632 students that took the test last year, only 76,098 scored 500 or more. Breaking it down to show Tampa Bay counties, the average pass rates did not rise above 60% pass rate.

From counties in the WFLA viewing area, only Citrus, Manatee, Pasco and Sarasota counties improved their ready percentages from 2019 to 2020.

Here are the Fall 2019 vs Fall 2020 numbers, as reported by the FLDOE:

County# of Test Takers (2019)# who scored 500+ (2019)% Scoring 500+ (2019)# of Test Takers (2020)# who scored 500+ (2020)% Scoring 500+ (2020)
State of Florida190,805101,81853%133,63276,09857%
(Source: FLDOE)

As learning went virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, testing for kindergarten readiness remained an in-person affair. The state website for FLDOE says students had to appear in person to take the test on campus.

“No, students must take FLKRS on campus,” the website shows. “If students will not come to campus to test, ‘Refusal’ would be the most appropriate characteristic to mark for these students.”

An immediate cause for the score changes was not clear. 8 On Your Side has reached out to the Florida Department of Education for comment and the potential effect the COVID-19 pandemic had on students heading into kindergarten in 2020.

FLDOE also shows how each school did individually. Click to see how your child’s school did on their readiness tests.