Formula for school grades may change
Since 1999, school grades — and the stigma that comes with them — have been based on FCAT scores alone. But lawmakers are seriously considering a plan to change that for high schools.
A bill being pushed by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, would roll other factors into the mix, including high school graduation rates, scores and participation rates on AP and IB exams, and the number of students earning industry certifications, an idea tied to Gaetz's push for more career and technical education.
The bill unanimously passed its first committee last week. Last year, two Pinellas high schools got A's, two got B's, seven got C's and five got D's.
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FCAT results to be delayed until June
As if some kids weren't anxious enough preparing for the FCAT, this year they'll have to wait longer for results. Most of the scores won't be released until at least June 2, and school grades won't be out until at least July 14.
Part of the problem: The bulk of FCAT testing didn't begin until last week because the school year started later (and that was because legislators moved up start times in response to parents who complained that the FCAT was eating into their summer vacation).
Another issue was last year's revelations that some of the 2006 FCAT scores were botched. The Department of Education has since installed a new safeguard, but the change means scoring will take longer.