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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Little trust arising in Florida's padded school grades



Changes to Florida's school grading system for a second straight year have raised several questions about the model's validity just days before the grades are to arrive at schools.

State Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg, R-Pasco County, told the Gradebook it had become clear to him that the situation that had some of the system's major proponents in knots needed to be "straightened out," perhaps through legislation. State law requires the A-F grades.

With the "safety net" in place, preventing drops of more than one letter grade, "Now all they can be sure of is an A is an A and an F is an F," Legg said.

Pasco schools assistant superintendent Amelia Larson cheered the State Board's fix. But she added that she had been telling district principals not to put too much stock in the grades when they come.

"I will not celebrate the A's and B's," Larson said. "When they celebrate the A's and B's, they validate the D's and F's."

The number of A's is expected to drop dramatically even with the "safety net" rule, as a result of multiple changes to the grading formula that superintendents have complained about. State officials have said they intend to release data beyond the letter grades to explain to parents how the marks were derived. Stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 10:23am]


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