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Press Release

Thursday, June 30, 2011

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

School Grades Hold Steady Despite Increased Grading Standards

~ More than three-quarters remain high performing ~

TALLAHASSEE - Even with an increase in writing standards this year, the grades of Florida's public elementary, middle and non-high-school combination schools remained relatively stable according to the 2011 school grades results released today. As a result, more than three-quarters of these schools continue to be high performing (receiving either an "A" or "B"). Some positive exceptions to this stability include gains in the number of elementary schools graded "A" (82 additional "A" schools) and a reduction of 13 schools graded "F" (44 in 2010 to 31 in 2011).

"Our teachers, principals and school district leaders deserve tremendous credit this year for answering the call of higher standards with resounding success," said Education Commissioner John L. Winn. "Over the last decade we have continued to raise the achievement bar to ensure our students are learning the skills they need to be successful in today's economy, and every time that bar has been raised our schools have redoubled their efforts to the direct benefit of children."

Of Florida's 2,547 graded elementary, middle and non-high-school combination public schools earning "A" through "F" grades this year:

  • 1,481 earned an "A" (58 percent), an increase of 82 schools compared to last year.
  • 458 earned a "B" (18 percent), a decrease of 33 schools compared to last year.
  • 460 earned a "C" (18 percent), a decrease of 35 schools compared to last year.
  • 117 earned a "D" (5 percent), an increase of 16 schools compared to last year.
  • 31 earned an "F" (1 percent), a decrease of 13 schools compared to last year.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
Required as a part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, AYP requirements target the performance and participation of various student subgroups on statewide assessments based on race or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability, and English proficiency. Unlike other states that set low standards for AYP proficiency benchmarks, Florida adopted a rigorous schedule that significantly raises the benchmarks each year leading up to the 2013-14 requirement of 100 percent proficiency for all students. This year, Florida schools must have 79 percent of their students in each subgroup proficient in reading and 80 percent in each subgroup proficient in math in order to meet AYP. According to the results, 325 of 3,063 schools made AYP this year (high schools are included in this figure since AYP is calculated based on Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test results).
Florida's School Improvement Program
In 2008, Florida implemented its new school improvement program, called Differentiated Accountability (DA), which combines federal and state accountability systems to provide more flexibility for schools in the types of corrective actions they need to implement. Through the program, schools are placed into improvement categories based on their state-assigned letter grade, the percentage of AYP requirements met, and the number of years they have failed to achieve AYP. The 2011 DA results are still being finalized and will be available in the near future.
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 $70 per student. The School Recognition Program has had a positive effect on schools maintaining and improving grades. In 2011, 1,146 schools maintained their "A," 23 schools that were not graded last year earned an "A," 312 schools improved to an "A" and 187 schools improved to a grade other than an "A."

To view the 2011 school grades and AYP results, visit School Grades. To view this year's school grades media packet, which contains helpful summaries of this information, visit School Grades Press Packet (PDF)