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Press Release

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Governor's Press Office
(850) 488-5394

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida High School Performance Reaches All-Time High

~ New high school grading system tracks wider spectrum of performance, including schools’ ability to prepare students for 21st century economy ~

Tallahassee – Governor Charlie Crist today announced the performance of Florida’s high schools reached record levels in 2009-10 under a new, expanded high school grading system. Working in concert with fellow legislators, Department of Education officials and other education stakeholders, Senator Don Gaetz designed the new grading system to provide a more complete picture of students’ high school experiences while rewarding schools for an increased emphasis on preparing students for success in college or career. According to the grades released today, nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of the state’s high schools achieved either an “A” or “B” grade during the 2009-10 school year. Standouts in the results include Gibbs, Miami Edison Senior, Miami Central Senior and Middleton high schools, four traditionally underperforming schools that all rose to a “C” grade.

“Our students rely on our schools for their future success, and today’s school grades indicate our school reform efforts are headed in the right direction,” Governor Crist said. “School grades measure what is important and give us the opportunity to reward success and progress, and I congratulate every student, parent, teacher and school leader throughout our state for their outstanding achievements.”

Of Florida’s 470 graded public high schools (including combination schools serving high school grade levels) earning "A" through "F" grades this year:

  • 140 earned an "A" (30 percent), an increase of 46 schools compared to last year.
  • 192 earned a "B" (41 percent), an increase of 81 schools compared to last year.
  • 69 earned a "C" (15 percent), a decrease of 54 schools compared to last year.
  • 58 earned a "D" (12 percent), a decrease of 62 schools compared to last year.
  • 11 earned an "F" (2 percent), a decrease of 12 schools compared to last year.

“These are terrific results for our high schools, providing very clear evidence that they have stepped up their efforts to offer demanding coursework for their students and graduate more of them prepared for college or a career,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Eric J. Smith. “I’m extremely proud of Florida’s high school teachers, administrators and support staff for what they have accomplished and I’m confident that they are already looking ahead at how to accelerate this progress and make every academic measure at their school a success.”

Introduced as a part of Senate Bill 1908 during the 2008 legislative session, the new high school grading system is designed to grade schools based not only on student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), but also on their ability to graduate students, increase student participation and performance in advanced coursework, and better prepare students for college and career. Under the new requirements, 50 percent of a high school’s grade is based on the performance of their students on the FCAT, and the remaining 50 percent is based on factors that include the following:

  • The school’s graduation rate.
  • The performance and participation of students in Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Enrollment, Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE), and industry certification.
  • The postsecondary readiness of the students as measured by the SAT, ACT, or College Placement Test (CPT).
  • The high school graduation rate of at-risk students.
  • Growth or decline in these data components from year to year.

“Our high schools do so much more than what is represented in our state assessments and I'm excited that we have been able to enhance our accountability process to reflect a broader picture of their of performance,” added Commissioner Smith. “Under the new high school grading formula, Florida has raised the bar of what our students are expected to achieve, and our schools have proven they can and will surpass those expectations.”

School Recognition Program Remains Incentive for Improvement

The Florida School Recognition Program rewards schools that have sustained high student performance or demonstrated substantial improvement in student performance. Schools that receive an “A,” or improve at least one performance grade from the previous year, are eligible to earn an additional $75 per student. The School Recognition Program has had a positive effect on schools maintaining and improving grades. In 2010, 60 high schools maintained their “A,” four newly opened high schools earned an “A,” 82 high schools improved to an “A,” and 158 high schools improved to a grade other than an “A” (including six high schools that maintained their grade after having improved two or more letter grades in the previous year).

For detailed information on the 2009-10 high school grades, visit An informative press packet, complete with visuals of the results is also available at (PDF).