Florida sees number of A-rated high schools rise
The number of Florida high schools earning A grades from the state in 2011-12 rose by nearly a third, from 148 to 231, the Florida Department of Education reports. The result can be partially attributed to some buffers in the grading system that the state put in place as it also increased FCAT passing scores, changed the graduation rate formula and took other steps to toughen accountability measures.
To protect against major grade fluctuations, the Florida Board of Education lowered the passing mark on writing to 3.0 from 4.0. It also decided that for 2011-12 only, no school could lose more than one letter grade. And it set aside the rule from past years that schools would lose a grade if at least half of students in the lowest quartile did not make gains.
“This year’s results reflect both higher standards and temporary safeguards the State Board of Education approved to help smooth the transition. As we continue toward implementing Common Core State Standards and assessments, we will continue to raise the bar as we prepare our students for success beyond high school,” interim commissioner Pam Stewart said in a release.
The state also started grading ESE centers as stand alone entities, something that caused major complaints among districts - particularly Hillsborough and Miami-Dade. The state did so to earn a No Child Left Behind waiver, which required accounting for all students. Districts did not want to count the students as attending home schools they do not go to, so some decided to accept the center grades while fighting the concept.
Ten such schools got F's. Sixteen were too small for grades, and 72 chose to accept a school improvement rating instead as an alternative school.
See the full chart of grades, which still are open to appeal, attached below. More information to come.