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How to read a school accountability report

The "School Accountability Report" follows on the next two pages. Compiled by the state, it is a batch of numbers that measures the same things at each school _ and in some cases makes comparisons with national numbers. What follows is an explanation of how to read the chart's columns, with scores for 1997 and 1998.

"Above U.S. median, reading" _ For grade schools, this number shows how fourth-graders at each school performed on the reading portion of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) compared to schools and students across the nation. For middle schools, it looks at eighth-graders.

How to read the percentage? First, imagine that the national median is a bar that the students need to jump over. Half of the national test scores are above it, half are below. The percentage for each school shows the fraction of students at each school who cleared the bar. It doesn't matter if the student cleared that bar by a little or a lot.

"3 or above in Florida Writes" _ This is the percentage of students who scored 3 or higher on the Florida Writes test.

"Above U.S. median, math" _ This number shows how fourth-graders at each school performed on the math portion of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) compared to schools and students across the nation. For middle schools, it looks at eighth-graders.

How to read the percentage? First, imagine that the national median is a bar that the students need to jump over. Half of the national test scores are above it, half are below. The percentage for each school shows the fraction of students at each school who cleared the bar. "Absent 20+ days" _ The percentage of students who were absent more than 20 days.

"Free or reduced-cost lunch" _ This is the percentage of students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches. The guidelines change with family size, but here is one example. For a family of four to qualify for the program, income cannot exceed $21,385 for free lunch and $30,433 for reduced-price lunch.

"Minority rate" _ This is the percentage of students who are minorities, including black, Hispanic, Asian or Indian.

"Mobility rate" _ This is the percentage of students who transferred into or out of the school during the school year.

"New staff" _ This is the percentage of teachers and administrators new to the school at the start of the school year.

"Passing HSCT communications (and math)" _ This is the percentage of 11th-graders who passed the communications and math portions, respectively, of the High School Competency Test given each fall.

TEXT FOR ACCOUNTABILITY CHART NOT PROVIDED FOR ELECTRONIC LIBRARY. PLEASE SEE MICROFILM.

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