Florida’s school grading system has been so tweaked and massaged it has been divorced from reality

Duval’s scores would be very similar. From the Tampa Times editorial board: 

Good high schools. Great faculty. Underperforming students. • That’s the condensed version of recent education reports out of Tallahassee spawned by an accountability system gone awry. Apparently schools and teachers are doing great, it’s just the students who aren’t making the grade.
Gov. Rick Scott and local educators boasted last week that Florida high schools are doing above-average work. Some 240 high schools, or about 48 percent of Florida high schools, earned A’s. And earlier this month, state reports showed a minuscule number of teachers with “unsatisfactory” job performance.
Yet Florida’s graduation rate is below the national average, according to the U.S. Education Department. And these median four-year graduation rates, buried in the state’s accountability formula, show the reality for Tampa Bay area students:
82 Percentage of Pasco students who graduated from A-rated high schools, meaning 18 percent missed graduation.
79 Percentage of Pinellas students who graduated from B-rated schools, meaning 21 percent were left behind. No school in the district scored less than a B.
75 Percentage of Hillsborough students who graduated from B-rated high schools, meaning 1 in 4 didn’t graduate.
70 Percentage of Hernando students who graduated from C-rated high schools, meaning 30 out of 100 didn’t graduate.
No matter what Tallahassee says, that’s not good enough. It is time to overhaul Florida’s school grading system, which has been so tweaked and massaged as to be divorced from reality. A system giving grades that parents, educators and students can’t trust is an exercise without a purpose.

2 Replies to “Florida’s school grading system has been so tweaked and massaged it has been divorced from reality”

  1. The main issue is that school grades don't necessarily correlate with what people think. My school earned an A, and the students were shocked. When it comes down to certain high schools, it is about numbers that more connect with gains than achievement. Instead, people think the A represents the highest level of academic ability. It does not, and it should not. Schools get the students they get; teachers work with the level of students they receive. Why should schools like Stanton or Paxon be compared to our non-magnet students? They should not; in fact, they should be held to an even higher level of accountability as most of the students they receive are reading, writing, and doing math on level or way above the standard. When a school like Jackson last year earned the B as referenced in another entry, it meant that gains took place in certain categories for whatever reasons. (I understand that those reasons sometimes are variable.) This year First Coast and Lee went up 1 level (to a B) and 2 levels (to an A) respectively, not because every student can read and write on level, but because they made gains in various areas set forth by the Florida Department of Education. The A is sometimes about a high level of achievement, the progress a school makes, or both. What we need is a more concise and clear way to define achievement, so everyone understands what the grades mean.

    There is a research article that really redefined my beliefs about literacy and teaching pedagogy. It is called "The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3."


    How can we possibly grade all schools in the same way?

    I encourage anyone who believes that the system could or should ever work the way it does to read this article. Schools should always, and I mean always, be about progress. Even then, progress should be defined based on many things. Once you read this article, you will understand.

  2. Check out the NYTimes article and related video for a possible solution: nytimes.com/2013/12/24/opinion/christmas-icon-reform.html This was good comment as well:
    This was supposed to be a fun piece. I get it. But why so many stereotypes + mistakes?
    Krampus is Austrian (or Alps region). In Germany we have 'Knecht Ruorecht', Santa's helper who may give bad kids dry sticks + coal. But no worry – they are sold now with chocolates dangling from those branches.

    The true difference between the countries you mention and the US is that education + teachers are highly valued by society, well paid (instead of high pay of the upper administrators). Most of all, education is free, paid for by Income taxes (and not Real Estate taxes), so schools + salaries are very similar across the country.

    And (in Germany – not sure about the other countries) legislators + government typically have middle class backgrounds and laws reflect that they can relate to the 47% (or 99%). Since I am at it: elections are financed by a government budget – by membership numbers. No PACs.

    When there is mobility, there is hope. When there is hope, there is motivation to succeed.
    Much better psychology than 'Krampus'.

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