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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Ignore school grades, Pasco officials say

FCAT scores are a thing of the past, good for nothing at this point except to determine school grades from the state, Pasco County superintendent Kurt Browning told his School Board on Tuesday.

Pasco schools, Browning said, should be looking toward the future. It's a process they've already begun.

During a workshop on assessments, teaching and learning director Vanessa Hilton explained, how elementary schools, for instance, stopped using the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for math this past year and instead based instruction on the new Florida Standards/Common Core. The FCAT scores were low as a result, she said, but district-level assessments aligned to the standards showed much higher levels of student achievement.

District officials expected this, assistant superintendent Amelia Larson said, and have told principals not to worry about the grades that come in the next few weeks. Instead, she said, school and district leaders should continue their efforts to make the transition to the new standards and testing structure, helping teachers prepare for a new way of helping students not just get correct answers but truly understand the math.

"It is a three-year transition period," Larson told the board. "Even though the state hasn’t given it, we are taking it."

Lawmakers approved a one-year changeover, during which the accountability measures will be held in abeyance. That begins with 2014-15 school grades. This year's grades still count, as fare as the state is concerned.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 3:15pm]


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