Good Grades For Students May Not Translate Into Good Report Cards For Schools
The variable this year is the grading formula state officials are using to calculate each school's scores. The reason school grades are being figured differently this year. And the x-factor is the significance low scoring students play in the final tally.
For the first time, science scores will figure into the school's overall grade. While Alachua County scores are above the state average of 37 points, the concern is that students are less motivated to do well on the exam since they don't need it to be promoted to the next grade or to graduate.
But weighing even more heavily is the importance given to the scores of students with the lowest grades. Now in it's own separate category, the bottom scorers in reading and now in math must add up to 50 points or higher for each school or the school automatically losses a grade. The lowest 25% typically include students with special needs and E.S.E students.
But bad or failing grades translate into less money for schools in bonuses for staff. According to the Alachua County School Board spokesperson, Jackie Johnson,"What the studies have shown, not only is the grading formula very hard but the state of Florida has set the proficiency level on the tests very high especially at the high school level so reach what the state calls proficiency at the state level especially on the high school is the equivalent to scoring the top 20 percent nationwide. that's a very high bar for the students to clear.."
School boards here in North Central Florida are saying parents need to look past the school grade and examine how their students are actually performing.
Johnson adds, "...The formula places so much emphasis on those lowest performing students that it's really over-shadowing everything else that is happening at your schools."
By Stacey Samuel, WCJB TV20 News
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