School Grades 2014: 'A' Schools Up, But So Are 'F' Schools
Around the State
Preliminary school grades for Florida’s elementary and middle schools were released Friday, showing the state’s schools earned more "A"s in 2014 -- as well as more "F"s.
According to the Florida Department of Education report, 195 schools earned more “A” grades in 2014, a 7 percent increase from last year’s grades. Nearly 250 fewer schools earned “B” grades this year -- a 10 percent drop from 2013.
The report also found while the number of “A” schools increased, so did the number of schools earning a failing grade. Over 70 more schools received an “F” grade this year, ticking up the number of failing Florida schools to 7 percent.
The scores are based on students’ performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), which measures academic achievement in science, mathematics and reading.
A press release from the DOE noted the increase in failing schools and vowed it was focused on getting flunking schools the necessary assistance and support they need for their students to perform better.
Schools were protected from dropping more than one letter grade under the state’s “safety net” provision. The State Board of Education voted last year to extend the measure through the 2014-2015 academic year.
Several of the state’s largest districts earned similar grades. Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough and Orange counties all earned "B"s as their preliminary district grades.
Only three districts -- Hamilton, Jefferson and Madison Counties -- earned "F"s as their preliminary district grades.
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart praised the news of Florida’s high-performing schools.
“The increase in the number of schools earning an ‘A’ this year is great news for students and teachers who have worked hard for this success,” she said. “I appreciate the work by the educators and families and students and know they will continue to improve in the future, even as we transition to a new grading system.”
2014 is the last year Florida’s schools will be using the current grading system. Come next year, the department will be overhauling how the state doles out grades, primarily due to a transition from the FCAT to the Florida Standards Assessment, a new test more closely aligned with the state’s new standards.
According to Stewart, the new grading system will be crafted with input from teachers and parents from across the state.
“Its focus on student achievement and gains will help ensure a fair accountability system that helps measure student knowledge of the new Florida Standards,” she explained.
So far there have been no specifics on when the factors for the new grading system will be determined.
High school grades are due out later this year.