- Charter School
(from Florida Dept. of Education)
Charter schools are public schools that operate under a performance contract, or a "charter" which frees them from many regulations created for traditional public schools while holding them accountable for academic and financial results.
Charter schools are created when an individual or group submits an application to the school district; the school district approves the application; the applicants form a governing board that negotiates a contract with the district school board; and the applicants and district school board agree upon a charter or contract. The district school board then becomes the sponsor of the charter school. The negotiated contract outlines expectations of both parties regarding the school's academic and financial performance.
Charter schools are open to all students residing within the district; however, charter schools are allowed to target students within specific age groups or grade levels, students considered at-risk of dropping out or failing, or students who meet reasonable academic, artistic or other eligibility standards established by the charter school.
For more information, see FL DOE Office of Independent Education & Parental Choice.
- Differentiated Accountability
Differentiated Accountability (DA) refers to the system used in Florida for classifying and evaluating the progress of school improvement based on School Grades performance (see "School Grades" definition for more information).
Beginning in 2012, Florida's Differentiated Accountability assignment categories include:
- Reward: Schools that have increased by at least one letter grade over the previous year or have maintained a school grade of "A". Reward schools are eligible for school recognition funds as an incentive for their performance.
- Focus: Schools receiving a school grade of "C" or "D". Focus schools are subject to some increased state oversight and monitoring than Reward or non-DA schools.
- Priority: Schools receiving a school grade of "F". Priority schools are subject to more intensive intervention efforts required by the Florida Department of Education. These schools must conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and submit a plan to demonstrate significant, immediate academic and systematic improvement in areas including: school improvement planning, leadership quality, educator quality, professional development, curriculum alignment and pacing, and monitoring plans and processes.
For more information, visit FL DOE Bureau of School Improvement.
- End-of-Course Exams
End-of-Course exams (EOCs) are standardized tests aligned with Florida's Next Generation Sunshine State Standards, designed to measure content mastery in key courses that are not specifically measured by the FCAT 2.0 or any other test - such as Algebra 1, Biology 1, Geometry, U.S. History and Civics.
For more information on EOCs, visit the Florida Department of Education's End-of-Course Assessments page.
- Graduation Rate
Graduation rates report the percentage of students who graduate from high school within four years of their initial enrollment in ninth grade, not including students who transferred out of the district. Graduation rates for the same cohort of students may appear differently depending on the formula used to calculate them.
The current standard calculation formula for the state of Florida is known as the "Federal" rate. Prior to 2011, graduation rates were primarily calculated and reported using the "NGA" rate. The major differences between these two formulas are:
- Federal formula: includes only standard diplomas as graduates, excludes GEDs and all special diplomas from counting towards graduation rates.
- NGA formula: includes both standard and special diplomas as graduates, but excludes GEDs from counting towards graduation rates.
For more information on how graduation rates are calculated, see reports available at FL DOE Education Information and Accountability Services page.
- Kindergarten Readiness
Student academic and developmental readiness levels when entering kindergarten for the first time can vary widely and significantly impact educational achievement over the first few years of school. A number of factors, including early environment and experiences, quality of pre-K education experience, and individual physical and emotional development can all effect how ready a student is to begin learning immediately when they enter school.
In Florida, an assessment known as the Florida Kindergarten Readiness Screener (FLKRS) is used to assess information about a student's overall readiness for kindergarten using components from two different types of readiness assessments, the Early Childhood Observation System (ECHOS) and the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading (FAIR-K).
- ECHOS: The ECHOS assessment is a brief observational screening instrument designed to measure a child's performance across seven developmental areas: Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Social and Personal Skills, Science, Social studies, Physical Development and Fitness, and Creative Arts.
- FAIR-K: The FAIR-K test is used to measure reading readiness skills, including a students' understanding of letter names and letter-sounds (phonemic awareness). Results from these two sections are used to calculate a student's Probability of Success in Reading score. Additional sections of the FAIR also administered to all public school kindergarten students include listening comprehension and vocabulary assessments.
For more information about kindergarten readiness assessments, visit FL DOE Office of Early Learning.
- Magnet Programs
Magnet programs offer a concentrated curriculum in designated areas of study, such as mathematics, science, technology, business, or performing arts. Magnet programs may be offered schoolwide at dedicated magnet schools, or as special programs for magnet cohorts within traditional schools. Magnet programs or schools are part of Florida's School Choice enrollment options and typically draw students from a wider geographic area than locally zoned traditional schools.
For more information, visit FL DOE Magnet Schools Information.
- Postsecondary Readiness
Postsecondary readiness rates indicate the percentage of a school's most recent graduating class who were qualified to enroll in college-level courses without the need for remediation in either reading or mathematics. Readiness is determined by a student's highest scores on any of a number of recognized college placement tests, including the ACT, SAT, CPT, or P.E.R.T. In order for a student to be considered postsecondary ready, he or she would need to meet the following minimum scores on any of these tests:
- ACT (potential score range: 1 - 36):
- Reading: 18
- English: 17
- Mathematics: 19
- CPT (potential score range: 1 - 120):
- Reading Comprehension: 83
- Writing Skills: 83
- Elementary Algebra: 72
- P.E.R.T. (potential score range: 50 - 150):
- Reading: 104
- Writing: 99
- Mathematics: 113
- SAT (potential score range: 200 - 800):
- Verbal: 440
- Mathematics: 440
For more information about these tests or how postsecondary readiness is calculated, visit FL DOE College and Career Readiness.
- ACT (potential score range: 1 - 36):
- School Grades
School Grades are the commonly used term to refer to a school's state accountability rating. All eligible public schools in Florida are evaluated each year on student performance in the following areas:
- Reading performance (All students)
- Reading performance gains (All students)
- Reading performance gains (Lowest 25% students)
- Math performance (All students)
- Math performance gains (All students)
- Math performance gains (Lowest 25% students)
- Writing performance
- Science performance
Additional performance measures for high schools only:
- Participation in accelerated coursework
- Performance in accelerated coursework
- Overall graduation rate
- At-risk graduation rate
- College readiness (Reading)
- College readiness (Math)
A school's total performance in all appropriate areas are then combined (using a weighted calculation based on a specific criteria established by the state) to determine the school's overall achievement on an A - F scale. For more information on how school grades are calculated see FLDOE School Grades Guide Sheet