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2016 school grades released: Be in the know about how they're calculated

In the last couple years, Florida has undergone some major changes in terms of standardized testing. In the 2014-2015 school year, we switched from the FCAT 2.0 to the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). The new FSA has 5 achievement levels (levels 1 to 5) with satisfactory or passing being at achievement level 3 or above.

The controversial “baseline” school grades for 2015 were released based on the new test despite computer malfunctions, the omission of learning gains, and the vehement opposition from Florida’s Superintendents and others.

This year, however, the State seems to have addressed the concerns that were raised from last year and have released school grades, that we are considering as true baseline grades. Even though the state is making comparisons between last year’s school grades and this year’s school grade, we want to be clear that the grades between these two years should not be compared, because of the missing components in the 2015 calculation. Here’s the scoop on how school grades are now calculated:

Source: Florida Department of Education

SCHOOL GRADE MEASURES AND INDICATORS

There are up to 4 student success measures:

  1. Achievement

  2. Learning Gains

  3. Graduation (High schools only)

  4. Acceleration Success 

Within each of these 4 measures are key indicators that are a combination of FSA scores, Florida Standards Alternate Assessment (FSAA) scores, Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) scores, and End of Course exams (EOC), AP/IB Exams, and Industry Certifications. The key indicators within each of the student success measures are as follows:

  1. Achievement

    1. English Language Arts (FSA, FSAA)

    2. Math (FSA, EOCs, FSAA)

    3. Science (NGSSS, EOC, FSAA)

    4. Social Students (EOCs)

  2. Learnings Gains

    1. Overall Learning Gains in ELA and Math

    2. Learning gains among the lowest 25% of students in ELA and Math

  3. Graduation Rates

    1. 4-Year Graduation Rate

  4. Acceleration Success

    1. High School (AP, IB, AICE, Dual Enrollment, or Industry Certification)

    2. Middle School (Passing High School Level EOCs or Industry Certifications)

LEARNING GAINS

Source: Florida Department of Education

The measure that gained the most attention last year was Learning Gains. This was the key component that was not included in last year’s release of school grades. For the first time, the state is employing a new way of calculating learning gains.

There are 3 ways students can demonstrate learning gains:

  1. Increasing their achievement level from the previous year to the next.     

    1. Example: In 2015, Jessica earned a level 2. In 2016, she earned a level 3.

  2. Students that earned a level 3 or level 4 from the previous year increased their achievement level for the next year. Students who earned a level 5 the previous year maintain a level 5 the next year.

    1. Example: In 2015, Jessica earned a level 3. In 2016, she earned a level 5.

    2. Example: In 2015 Jessica earned a level 5. In 2016, she earned a level 5 again.

  3. Achievement level 1 will be split into 3 subcategories (low, middle, and high) and achievement level 2 will be split into 2 subcategories (low and high). Students who earned a level 1 or level 2 must increase move up a sub category

    1. Example: In 2015, Jessica earned a High level 1 . In 2016, Jessica earned a Low level 2 .

Source: Florida Department of Education

School grades include 4 indicators of learning gains: (1) Overall learning gains in the FSA English Language Arts (ELA), (2) learning gains achieved among 25 percent of students who scored the lowest in the FSA ELA, (3) overall learning gains on the FSA Math, and (4) learning gains achieved among 25 percent of students who scored the lowest on the FSA math.

The number of students earning the lowest 25 percent in either ELA or Math is determined by looking at the performance of students in the previous year at each grade level to see how many have improved the next year. The lowest 25 percent is not limited to students who earned an achievement level 1 or 2.

ACCELERATION SUCCESS

For high school students, acceleration success is calculated by examining graduates’ (as calculated using the adjusted cohort method) high school careers to see who was eligible to take AP, IB or AICE exams and who passed. Additionally, students who earned a C- or better in dual enrollment courses or industry certifications help to increase the number of points a school earns.

INCOMPLETE GRADE

There are thirteen schools in Duval County that received a grade of “I” or Incomplete. That has to do with the number of students who took the FSA. If a school does not have at least 95 percent participation by those who should be taking the FSA, they will see a grade of “I” which will require an appeal from the superintendent to the commissioner for an actual school grade to be released.


We will have more information on how Duval County compares soon. To keep updated, subscribe or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.