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New report looks at Florida's school grading system

New report looks at modernizing Florida's school grading system
Jacksonville Public Education Fund releases policy brief examining the current school
accountability system and proposing ways to update it to meet today's needs

 

JACKSONVILLE , Fla., January 15, 2014- Florida's school grading system is the oldest in the nation, and it's showing its age. As the state transitions to new English and math standards, it has an invaluable opportunity to modernize the school grading system to make it meaningful to the millions of citizens that depend on it. Proposed ways to update the school grading system are the subject of a new policy brief released today by the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

Understanding and Updating School Grades for Florida's Futureis available for download at www.jaxpef.org/schoolgrades. The report examines the current school grading formula - which has been changed 16 times in the last three years - and looks at several potential fixes that could make the system more meaningful and stable. Among them:

  • Emphasize student growth, and measure it over multiple years instead of just one.
  • Spread the grade ranges more evenly to avoid instability.
  • Change the formula only every few years.
  • Use student growth and proficiency separately to ensure schools are rewarded or penalized based on performance, not demographics.
  • Broaden and align the components of the accountability system.

"Our state has the oldest A-F grading system in the country, and the transition to new standards presents the perfect time to update and improve it," said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund. "A recent poll we conducted shows that test scores and school grades are by far the most important factor listed in evaluating a school, so it couldn't be more important to ensure that we have a modern school accountability system."

The release comes on the heels of a Senate Education Committee meeting where lawmakers and Florida Department of Education Commissioner Pam Stewart began the conversation around school grades and accountability in light of the transition to new academic standards and a new assessment.

For more information or to download a copy of the brief - and see additional interactive data visualizations from the report - go to www.jaxpef.org.

*** Editors: High-resolution graphics and interviews are available. Contact Deirdre Conner, Director of Advocacy & Communications, at (904) 345-0597 or Deirdre@jaxpef.org for more information. ***

 

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About the Jacksonville Public Education Fund

The Jacksonville Public Education Fund is an independent nonprofit organization that works to inform and mobilize the community to advocate for universally high-quality public schools for all children. For more information, visit www.jaxpef.org or call (904) 356-7757.