Florida Board of Education to take closer look at school grading formula
TAMPA — This year’s school grades aren’t out yet, but Florida educators already are worried.
With changes to the grading formula and higher testing standards kicking in this year , superintendents on Tuesday warned State Board of Education members and Commissioner Tony Bennett that they likely will see a dramatic drop in school grades despite relatively steady student performance compared to last year.
The disconnect, they said, will confuse the public and harm the credibility of education reform efforts.
“We are very supportive of accountability across the board,” Hillsborough school superintendent MaryEllen Elia told board members. “We aren’t shirking that, and we’ll take exactly what the data shows, but we have to make sure within the system of assessment that there is an appropriate accountability — not one that is not understandable.”
If the state’s grading formula stays the same, Hillsborough projects it could have as many as 20 F schools this year among its 142 elementaries — far above the usual handful.
Miami-Dade school superintendent Alberto Carvalho agreed, telling board members that nobody has examined the cumulative impact of all the impending changes. Last year, the state made 19 changes to the accountability system. Several more changes have been made this year, he said.
“If you have increased performance simultaneously with decreased letter grades, the public will not understand,” Carvalho said.
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