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School, district grades will differ this year

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Jan 25, 2023

The implementation of the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking testing this year means how schools and district will be graded has changed — the number of components on which they are measured has decreased.

Superintendent Dr. Christopher Bernier said there will be fewer opportunities for schools to gather necessary points.

“The biggest impact going into this year is the lack of learning gains,” Bernier said. “Principals talk a lot about learning gains. They have students that are in level one and two already, and really want to move that student along. Some are going to move a few feet, some move a mile. The good news is the denominator is changing.”

In a typical year, district and the schools within it receive an annual grade based on student achievement, growth and other academic measures. To receive an A grade they need to receive 62 percent of points or greater; 54 percent to 61 percent for a B; 41 percent to 53 percent for a C; 32 percent to 40 percent for a D and 31 percent or less for an F.

Again, in a typical year, elementary schools are graded on three components in English Language Arts and mathematics – achievement, learning gains and learning gains of the lowest 25 percent; and science – achievement. With middle school, it is the same seven components with middle school acceleration success, or Industry Certifications. High school social studies achievement, four year graduation rate and high school acceleration success is added to English Language Arts, mathematics and science components.

Elementary schools are graded on seven components, middle schools and K-8 schools have nine components, high schools have 10 components and the district has 11 components. Each component is worth 100 points.

Accountability, Assessment and Research Director Dr. Matthew Kaye said achievement is recognized as scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on statewide assessments.

This year, 2022-2023 school year is a transitional year, Kaye said as students are being tested on Florida Assessment of Student Thinking. The first progress monitoring was done in August, the second in January and the third one will be in May for grades third through 10th.

Kaye said since this is the first year of new testing there is no prior year score, which impacts the components.

“Other key considerations, while you hear the term ‘hold harmless,’ this is a very significant year for our students. They still have to pass statewide assessments for graduation and promotion reasons. While it may be hold harmless, our students in the building have the same expectations as years before,” he said.

The changes to the 2022-2023 model includes no learning gains, resulting in fewer components; school and district grades may be reset and the school and district grades will be released later in either late fall or winter.

The changes include seven components for the district, three components for elementary; five components for middle school and six components for high school.

“For the district, instead of having 11, you now have seven, 700 points available,” Kaye said.

The graduation and college and career acceleration rates are both lag data reports, as the prior year data is finalized over the summer, into the following year. Kaye said the graduation rates are finalized at the end of the summer, while acceleration success exams are released in August and September.

The graduation rate is measured on students graduating within four years of starting high school. For instance, a ninth grader who began school in 2018-2019 is expected to graduate in the 2021-2022 school year.

The graduation rate for the 2021-2022 school year was 82.5 percent for the district and 87.3 percent for the statewide graduation rate, compared to 85.1 percent for the district the year prior and 90.1 percent for the statewide graduation.

College and career acceleration represents the percentage of graduates who earned a qualifying CCA credit by earning at least a passing score on an Advanced Placement exam; a passing score on an International Baccalaureate exam; a passing score on an Advanced International Certificate of Education exam; A, C or better in a dual enrollment course; a CAPE Industry Certification credit, 300, or more clock hours in the same Dual Enrollment course program or a 65 or higher on the ASVAB and two JROTC credits from the same branch of the military.

The college and career acceleration rate was 63 percent statewide and 68 percent for the district.

The presentation also focused on CSI (Comprehensive Support and Improvement) schools, those schools that received a D, or F, have a graduation rate of 67 percent or less and have an overall federal index below 41 percent.

Kaye said there are three schools in CSI tier one, G. Weaver Hipps Elementary School Manatee Elementary School and Fort Myers Middle Academy. He said all of the schools earned a D last year. The first tier has intensive interventions and supports, such as a school improvement plan, instructional reviews, district and school requirements and progress monitoring data reviews.

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