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Florida Parent Group: A-F Letter Grade System a 'Failure,' Should Be Abolished

August 12, 2016 - 2:45pm

Florida’s A through F grading system as a means to gauge a school's performance has been fraught with controversy in recent years, and now a statewide parent group is fed up, calling for an end to the system which has been basic in Florida education for 17 years.

"Almost the totality of the Florida education system needs to be reformed in order to return it to its primary mission," said Florida Parents Against Common Core state director Luz Gonzalez.

FPACC, a statewide group, says despite improvements made through the grades and subsequent education reforms, the A-F grading system is in serious need of an overhaul.

Started in 1999, Florida devised the the A-F letter grade system as a way for parents to understand how schools their children's schools were doing. It was created to measure student achievement among schools statewide, factoring in standardized test scores and student achievement progress to compute each letter grade.

Florida has altered the grading system several times throughout the years, raising the bar for what it means to achieve each letter grade. In fact, it has undergone more than 60 revisions in the last two decades.

Critics say the grading system is to blame, keeping Florida from completing its primary mission of educating students to their highest potential.

“Present in today’s Florida classroom is an environment where showing test results is increasingly more important than any genuine proficiency in the curriculum subject,” said Gonzalez. “Such priority in measuring testing performance and confusing it with learning performance is one of the most faulty narratives of the test-punish-and-deceive culture that runs rampant in the Florida public school system.”

Grades for Florida schools have always been a hot topic in the Sunshine State. Each year, schools earn a new letter grade based on student achievement.

There are about 3,200 schools statewide and each aims for the highest grade, which can mean extra funding for the top letter grade. Schools with an “A” rating earn an extra $100 per student, which can mean a big boost in school funding.

Take 2015, for example.

Fifty-six percent of schools earned an “A” or a “B” last year, while six percent earned an “F.” This year, the number of “A” schools dropped to only 23 percent, decreasing from nearly 1200 “A” schools in 2015 to a little over 700 schools with the same letter grade this year. The number of "F" schools dropped from about six percent (204 schools) to three percent.

2016 school grades also saw the number of “C” schools increase by nearly 30 percent, with over 1,200 schools receiving the grade. 

This year the department revamped grading rules which decreased the percentage needed for an “A” score from 66 percent to 62 percent, yet fewer schools received that letter grade than previous years. 

The FDOE instead focused on the drop in failing schools, saying the scores mean students who may be having a tough time academically are making improvements. 

“Even as we have continued to raise the bar for student performance and implemented more rigorous standards by which schools are graded, Florida’s educators and students have continued to excel,” Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart said in a statement. “It is clear that our focus on Florida’s most struggling students is paying off.”

FPACC says the drop in higher-graded schools, however, is troubling sign and an indicator that the state’s assessment test, the Florida Standards Assessment, is an inaccurate way to measure student progress. 

The parent group says it doesn’t believe students learned less in 2016 than they did in 2015, but does contend the problem lies with the state’s age-old grading system and the test which determines much of said grades.

“What we believe is that the FSA is a ridiculous priority measurement of proficiency or learning,” Gonzalez said. “What we further believe is that Florida’s school grading system is an administrative game with little credibility in accuracy.” 





At least 2 things (many more) politicians should never be allowed to tamper with, public safety and education. In the countries in the top ten in education in the world, this is prevailing practice. Academia is left to those that qualify for that title, not politicians... Nothing will change until that changes here in the US...

Sorry for the typo. "The" only one

Our education system was not always a failure. It succeeded until the "feel good" sixties when the schools of education accepted any warm body and has been going downhill ever since. But the A-F system's not at fault. The problem lies with the tests used, and with Common Core. Leninist style revolution won't produce anything but chaos and misery as it always has. If we can't find electeds who understand we'll be doomed to turn into a second rate socialist state. The former dean of the college of education at a major state university bluntly admitted to me that he was a Leninist. I believe he was not they only one.

I don't believe that ANY Dean would have said anything like that, especially to someone unknown as you are to him. And, even if he's your Daddy, no way he's telling you that. Schools have had tests ever since there's been a school. Tests have always been used as a measurement for how well the children are learning, and most importantly, understanding what they're learning! It's sad parents do NOT understand, and are unwilling to learn, but they sure as hell have many comments to make about what material is used in a classroom and how does this material affect 'my little Johnny', or 'Reuben',or even 'Sara'. Parents need to wise up and be there for their own kids, stop interferring with the classroom by allowing teachers to teach the course information handed to them by the great Boards of Education, located locally, and in Tallahassee. Politicos seem to think they know better than you, or the teachers, and everyone else, until their kids go home crying that school was too hard so Daddy can change the rules mid-stream to help the little one. Bottom line, it's all BS!

The United States education system has always been a complete failure...the grading system is rigged and stacked against those students who excel past the tired dogma that their little brains are forced to endure...our children are now waking up to these facts and will be fighting against the slave machine that attempts to chain them down...thank God the youth of today have the guts to take on the war with the filthy rich and one day leave this mental prison for good while the education systems puppets stand dropped-jawed as they wipe the bums of the world's wealthy while watching the old ways go down the toilet..

What nuthouse are you in?

You should use spell check

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