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With 78% of High Schools Rated A or B, Tougher Standards Will Kick In Next Year

| December 18, 2013

High schools will see the tougher testing standards next year that lower-level schools have already been contending with. (© FlaglerLive)

High schools will see the tougher testing standards next year that lower-level schools have already been contending with. (© FlaglerLive)

High schools across the state will face tougher standards next year after more than three-quarters of them made one of the state’s top two grades on report cards announced Wednesday.

In all, 78 percent of high school and “combination schools” received an A or a B in the 2012-13 school year, the state Department of Education said. The portion of high schools making the highest mark ticked up by one percentage point over 2011-12, to 48 percent, while 30 percent of schools made a B, slipping from 32 percent a year ago.

In Flagler County, Matanzas High School and Flagler Palm Coast High School both got A ratings. Matanzas maintained its A, making it the third A since the school opened in 2006. FPC improved from a B, earning an A for only the second time in 13 years. It is the second time that both high schools are A rated in the same year (they did so in 2008). The district is rated B, after four successive years as an A-rated district. Most of the district’s remaining schools saw their grades drop as tougher standards have kicked in.

“This is great news for Flagler County Schools entering the Holiday season,” Shawn Schmidli, the district’s assessment and accountability coordinator, said in a statement. “Both grades represent a culmination of all of the hard work that our administrators, teachers, and students have put in over the past year. To have both of our high schools earn an “A” through a rigorous accountability system is a testament to the various exceptional programs that exist at both of our high schools.”

“With more high schools earning A’s, it is clear that our teachers are succeeding in providing Florida students with a quality education,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a news release announcing the numbers.

But the high grades will also spark tougher standards under a State Board of Education rule, adopted in 2011, that requires the standards to rise if 75 percent of any group of schools makes the two highest marks. State officials said Wednesday this marked the first time the new rule has been used.

For example, high schools will now have to score 70 percent of the points available on the state’s grading system, up from 66 percent, to get an A. The standard will increase from 62 percent to 65 percent for a B, and there will be smaller increases in the scores necessary for C and D grades.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart praised teachers and students for the progress.

“They are doing a good job, and it is really important that we continue to raise the bar as Florida his done, historically, over the years,” she said.

At the same time, the state is continuing a policy aimed at preventing schools’ scores from falling by more than one grade a year while schools phase in new state standards based on the Common Core initiative. Seven high schools were protected by that policy this year, education officials said.

Stewart said that scores could still slip after new tests based on those standards are implemented because Common Core is expected to be more rigorous than the state’s current guidelines.

“I think it’s fair to say that, just as with this move on our high-school grading we are raising the bar, that’s what we’ll be doing in ’14-’15,” she said.

–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida

Flagler County School Grades, 2001-2016

School2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 20092010 2011201220132014201520162017
Bunnell ElementaryCCAAABBAABBAB (C)*ABCC
Belle Terre ElementaryAAAAAAAAAABB
Rymfire ElementaryBABCAAB (c)*ABBB
Phoenix AcademyCCClosed
Palm Harbor****FN.A.ABFD
Indian Trails MiddleAAAAAAAAAABB
Grades are based on standardized tests and other factors, including student improvement, end-of-year exams, AP and IB, dual enrollment, and graduation rates.
(*) In 2013, the state Board of Education agreed to pad grades in such a way as to prevent them from falling by more than one letter grade. More than 20 percent of schools benefited from the padding, including Rymfire and Bunnell elementaries in Flagler, whose grades would have been a C if the actual standards were applied.
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3 Responses for “With 78% of High Schools Rated A or B, Tougher Standards Will Kick In Next Year”

  1. dlf says:

    This great news if it is true. All I read is how the American students are falling behind the rest of the world in science, math and reading. I wonder which report is correct. Either way good job and hope to see improvements in the next year. Maybe we can get a tax levy passed?

    • Liana G says:

      My 10th grade twins are proof that this is not true. Yesterday they received their PSAT scores and while they scored reasonably well on the critical reading and writing skills sections, their math scores were atrocious – one scored 36 and the other 37. I don’t what they are teaching in Flagler but it’s definitely is NOT MATHEMATICS. And did I mention that they take full advantage of the free one on one math tutoring from the honor students at their school? This is great because private tutoring around here is $99.00 an hour. And I don’t have that kind of resources. Yes, I actually looked into it.

      Hopefully, by the time they get to the 12th grade their scores will improve with all the extra help they’ve been receiving, or they’ll finally catch up to middle school level math, at least.

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