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Commissioner’s Proposal for Changes to Florida’s School Grading System

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart's proposed changes to the school grading system became clearer this week with the release of the agenda for the State Board of Education's meeting on Tuesday, February 18.

The proposal places a focus on promoting a simpler grading formula, while describing in general terms the plan for how schools will be graded as the state transitions from the FCAT 2.0 to the new assessment the Commissioner will select in March to be administered in spring 2015. Significant details in the proposal include a shift from grading scales to using a school's percentage of total possible points earned to calculate the A-F grade, along with eliminating many of the provisions which were used to raise or lower a school's grade, such as bonus points and additional weighting given to certain components, said to over-complicate the formula.

To view the Commissioner's PowerPoint presentation with the proposed updates to be presented at Tuesday's board meeting, click  here.  

Although the revisions to the school accountability system will only be presented to the board at this time and voted on at a later time, the proposal alone begs many questions about what the overall grading system will look like, and how the transition will be accomplished. Below are some questions to consider regarding some of the components of the proposed school grading system and how the grades will be reported during the transition to the new assessment.

Before reading the questions, click here to read our latest policy brief with our recommendations for the updates to school grades so you can be aware of some of the issues that need to be addressed.

Questions:

Measuring Growth

  • How will the growth component of the school grade (learning gains) be calculated given the transition to the new assessment, which will differ from FCAT 2.0?
  • How will cut scores on the new assessment be determined?
  • How will teacher evaluations be affected through the transition since they require multiple years of growth data?

School Grading Formula

  • How will the thresholds for the new percentile-based scale be determined?
  • What is the proposed window for periodic changes to the grading scale?

Reporting School Grades

  • If all school grades will be released at the same time, how will this affect high school grades since college readiness and graduation rates are released later than the proposed announcement of school grades in the summer?

Continue to check back with us at jaxpef.org for more updates regarding the changes to Florida's school grading system. 

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Kelly Turner