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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Make Florida school grades meaningful, Pasco superintendent tells lawmakers



Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning has called upon state lawmakers to create a more meaningful system to grade Florida schools as they transition to a new model.

He has suggested a more detailed formula that takes into account indicators that more accurately demonstrate whether schools are successful:

"Similar to the high-school grading formula, the elementary and middle school grading formulas would consider additional lagging indicators to accurately measure education priorities, such as early literacy and numeracy, attendance rates, behavior rates, retention rates or student/faculty/staff survey data, as well as international benchmark data. For such a school grading system to be truly meaningful, each school grade, whether it is a letter grade or not, would be linked to cascading 'leading indicators' and results."

Browning urged a move away from using simple proficiency measures, suggesting they too often simply reflect factors from outside the school. Using growth or some type of value-added measure would be more valuable, he wrote.

Notably, Browning suggested adding factors into the formula at a time when many observers have called for a simpler, more understandable system than the one that has been criticized as too loaded down with details. "we need a new learning assessment and accountability system designed to provide in-depth information about the performance of students, schools, and districts," he wrote. 

The superintendent sent his five-page recommendation to Senate Education Committee chairman John Legg in advance of the committee's debate over school grades. Legg filed a bill that mirrors a proposal by education commissioner Pam Stewart, but fully expected the final outcome to look different.

The Education Committee is scheduled to take up the issue on Tuesday. What ideas do you think it should consider?

[Last modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 10:56am]


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