Saturday, July 21, 2012

Florida Department of Education Botches School Grades

The school accountability system in Florida is under attack. The governor and especially his appointed Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson have been criss-crossing the state defending the state's accountability measures. Well, here's something else to defend. The Department of Education miscalculated school grades in 40 of the state's 67 school districts. On the A-to-F scale, that resulted in many schools grades going up by one letter grade. Here is an excerpt from the Orlando Sentinel's coverage of the fiasco:
School grades in 40 of Florida's 67 school districts, including some in Orange, Osceola, Lake and Volusia counties, were miscalculated and have been bumped upward, the Florida Department of Education announced late Friday.
The department provided little information about what led to the revised grades, saying only that they were identified as part of "continuous review process."
Volusia Superintendent Margaret Smith said she was called earlier Friday and told about the changes to her six campuses but given little explanation about what had happened.
While it was "good news" for the involved schools, Smith said, it was also "disconcerting" to realize there might have been mistakes given the high-stakes nature of Florida's school grading system.

Given the stricter standards and the lower grades that resulted from the new standards, I am sure that these schools can breathe a sigh of relief, realizing that their image for the next school year won't be as bad as they thought. Thankfully, only a week has passed since the original school grades announcement. Hopefully too many people did not make any drastic decisions based on the results of now incorrect school grades. 

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