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Press Release

Friday, December 21, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

More Florida High Schools Get Top Grades

Tallahassee, Fla., December 21, 2012 - The number of Florida high schools and combination high schools getting an A grade for 2012 rose to 231, up from 148 last year, in preliminary results released today by the Florida Department of Education. While the results are encouraging given the move to more rigorous standards, they include measures approved by the State Board of Education to ease the transition for the 2011-12 school year.

"I want to thank students, teachers, parents, and school leaders throughout the state for their commitment to academic success," said Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart. "This year's results reflect both higher standards and temporary safeguards the State Board of Education approved to help smooth the transition. As we continue toward implementing Common Core State Standards and assessments, we will continue to raise the bar as we prepare our students for success beyond high school."

In addition to higher achievement levels this year, the state moved to a more rigorous graduation rate formula for high schools and expanded the basis for college readiness measures, focusing on all on-time graduates. Next year, high school grades will include biology and geometry end-of-course assessments.

An increase in the number of A high schools and combination high schools is good news for districts. High school grades determine school recognition funds, which reward schools that have sustained high student performance or have shown substantial student performance improvement. The Legislature approved $134,582,877 for that purpose for 2012-2013.

Orange County School District Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins said, "The school board and I are extremely proud of our teachers, students, and school leaders who work hard to meet or exceed goals. These results reflect their effort as well as the effort of our central office. Clearly there will be further discussion regarding how ESE centers should be graded. We also realize that our high school grades next year may look different as we incorporate end-of-course assessments for biology and geometry. We are diligently preparing for Common Core and fully implementing the standards that help ensure our students are ready to compete in a global economy."

While elementary and middle school grades are calculated using assessment components, high school grades include both assessment-based components and other components, such as graduation rates and accelerated coursework. In addition, numerous changes were made to the grading formula, such as moving to the federal graduation rate and using more challenging measures of postsecondary readiness. The largest increase in points for assessment-based components came from overall reading gains and reading gains of the lowest performing 25 percent of students.

Regular High Schools and Combination Schools
(Excluding ESE Center Schools)

  2012 Preliminary Grades
(Pre-appeals)
2011 Final Grades
(Post-appeals)
Change
School Grade Number Percentage Number Percentage Number Percentage
Point Change
A 231 47% 148 31% 83 16%
B 154 31% 223 47% -69 -16%
C 89 18% 72 15% 17 3%
D 14 3% 25 5% -11 -2%
F 3 1% 6 1% -3 0%
Total 491   474   17  

Ten exceptional student education (ESE) center schools received Fs. These schools provide specialized services to students with disabilities who cannot be served in the general school setting. This is the first year that ESE centers were included in Florida's school accountability system - a requirement in order for Florida to get a federal elementary and secondary education act flexibility waiver. ESE centers could either choose to receive a school improvement rating based on student learning gains or a school grade based on student performance and learning gains. Any school that receives an F is placed into the state's differentiated accountability program, which provides targeted support to schools needing to improve the most. For ESE schools, field teams will include educators with expertise in learning strategies for students with disabilities.

Exceptional Student Education Center Schools
Choosing to Receive a School Grade

School Grade First Year
2012 Preliminary Grades
(Pre-appeals)
2011 Final Grades
(Post-appeals)
Schools Choosing
School Improvement
Rating
72 NA

School Grade First Year
2012 Preliminary Grades
(Pre-appeals)
2011 Final Grades
(Post-appeals)
Schools Choosing School Grade
A 0 NA
B 0 NA
C 0 NA
D 1 NA
F 10 NA
Too Small 16 NA
Total 99 NA

School districts have an opportunity to appeal high school grades through February 1, 2013. The results of that process will determine school recognition funds. To receive school recognition dollars a school must receive an A, increase their grade from the previous year, maintain their grade after improving two or more letter grades, or receive a school improvement rating of Improving.

Detailed information on the 2012 high school grades and a press packet with graphic displays of results are available on the department's website at School Grades.