Florida releases first school grades under new formula

78% of St. Johns County, 65% of Clay County schools graded A or B

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Education released Friday the first round of school grades to follow the new grading formula, which simplified the school and district grading process.

The new guidelines, which reflect major changes made to Florida statutes during the 2014 legislative session, ensure that schools receive credit when students make meaningful gains toward grade level performance and beyond, the DOE said.

The simplified grading formula focuses on annual student results important for students in elementary, middle and high schools, and removes provisions such as the safety net, which are now prohibited by law. 

Based on the new formula, 78 percent  of St. Johns County schools and 65 percent of Clay County schools were graded A or B. In Duval County, 30 schools were graded A and 34 schools were graded B.

The DOE said in its news release that the number of F schools had dropped by about 50 percent in the Northeast region, which includes Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Hamilton, Lafayette, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee and Union counties.

DOCUMENT: Grades for all school districts
SEARCH: Grades of every northeast Florida school
ONLINE: Grades for all Florida schools

But a representative from the Jacksonville Public Education Fund pointed to the change in the state grading system and said school grades from previous years should not be compared to this year's grades.

The JPEF, an educational advocacy organization, said the cut scores for passing rates and the way growth is calculated both changed a lot in 2015, and 2015 school grades didn’t include any growth measurement at all.

The group said that means comparing 2016 grades and previous years would be like comparing apples to oranges.

The two main factors in school grades are still student performance and student growth.

Performance shows how many students at any given school were considered passing, or how many students are on or above grade level.

Growth shows how well any given school performed, or how much students at that school improved from one year to the next.

According to the DOE, highlights from Florida’s Northeast region include:

Baker

  • Two schools are graded A in 2016.
  • No schools were graded D or F in the district.

Bradford

  • One school is graded B in 2016.
  • In 2016, there is one fewer school graded F than in 2015, leaving the district with no D or F schools.
  • In 2016, one school improved its grade from an F to a C.

Clay

  • Seven schools are graded A in 2016 and 19 schools graded B.
  • In 2016, 65 percent of schools are graded A or B.
  • In 2016, one school improved its grade from a D to a C.

Columbia

  • Four schools are graded A in 2016 and four schools graded B.
  • In 2016, 57 percent of schools are graded A or B.
  • In 2016, there is one less school graded D than in 2015, leaving the district with no D or F schools.
  • In 2016, one school improved its grade from a D to a C.

Duval

  • Thirty schools are graded A in 2016 and 34 schools graded B.
  • In 2016, 19 schools improved their grade from a D to a C or higher (three from a D to a B and 16 from a D to a C).
  • In 2016, six schools improved their grade from an F to a C.

Nassau

  • Eight schools are graded A in 2016 and two schools graded B.
  • In 2016, 83 percent of schools are graded A or B.
  • There are no schools graded D or F in the district.

Putnam

  • Two schools are graded A in 2016.
  • In 2016, two schools improved their grade from a D to a C.

St. Johns

  • Twenty-two schools are graded A in 2016 and seven schools graded B.
  • In 2016, 78 percent of schools are graded A or B.

Union

  • Two schools are graded B in 2016.
  • There are no schools graded D or F in the district.

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