School grades for 24 Northeast Florida schools have been bumped up after they were miscalculated by the state, whose exam and evaluation process has faced a bevy of criticism.
Two schools, Eugene Butler Middle School and School of Success Academy charter school, both in Jacksonville, saw their grades improved from Fs to Ds.
Thirteen of the Northeast Florida school improvements went from Bs to As, six were revised from Cs to Bs and three went from Ds to Cs.
Most of the revised grades for First Coast schools were in Duval County, another three schools were in Clay County, while Baker and Nassau counties each had one school’s grade improved.
Duval was second among state districts in the number of schools impacted, with 19 school grades revised. Miami-Dade led the state with 31 revisions. The state revealed the error Friday night.
Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals said Saturday that he had mixed feelings about the grade changes, which he called significant.
“On the one hand, it shows us doing better than we even had before; on the other hand it does make you wonder whether or not they have all the calculations right,” he told the Times-Union. “To their credit, if you see something’s not right, as opposed to hiding it they came forward and they were honest about it.”
Pratt-Dannals said mistakes like this may hurt the state’s credibility, particularly as it looks to use exams more to evaluate teacher performance.
KIPP Impact Middle School, which under-performed in its first year by earning an F in 2011 and then rebounded this year by earning a C, saw its grade revised to a B.
“I am delighted our KIPP Impact students, parents and staff are being recognized with a B grade. They all worked incredibly hard and we are looking forward to building our progress in the coming year,” said Tom Majdanics, executive director for KIPP Jacksonville.
More than 200 schools in 40 of the state’s 67 school districts saw their grades improved because of the error.
Several district grades also were improved, but Duval County, which saw its district grade drop from a B to a C this year, was not one of those districts.
Pratt-Dannals said he will be looking at why the revised grades weren’t good enough to improve the district’s grade.
The state annually hands out the grades that are used to financially reward top schools and sanction those that get failing marks. Student performance on reading, math, science and writing tests primarily determines the grades, as well as whether students showed learning gains over the previous year.
The Florida Department of Education said the error occurred in the way they weighted students’ learning gains, The Associated Press reported Saturday.
The state passed a rule last year saying that students who scored at levels 1 and 2 on last year’s FCAT and got a third more points than was needed to be considered to have made learning gains on the FCAT this year, would receive a weighted learning gains score, the AP reported.
But the state failed to include students who were at levels 1 or 2 last year, but scored at higher levels this year when calculating the weighted points.
The error put another spotlight on the state’s system of evaluating students and comes as the grading system is under some of the sharpest criticism it has endured in the years since former Gov. Jeb Bush first put it into place, the AP noted.
Overall, more than 100 schools in the state jumped from a B to an A grade, the AP reported. Fifty-five school grades changed from a C to a B. Thirty-five school grades changed from a D to a C, and seven school grades changed from an F to a D.
Commissioner of Education Gerard Robinson said he will look for ways to improve the grade calculation process, the AP reported.
“The strength of our accountability system depends on the partnership between school districts and the department, and these revisions are a direct result of that process,” he said in a statement.
Topher Sanders: (904) 359-4169
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