Tallahassee, Florida - More high schools across Florida earned "A's" last school year, according to new figures from the state Department of Education.
The department reports 231 high schools received an "A" grade in the 2011 - 2012 school year, up 16 percent from the previous year.
Three schools earned an "F." That was down from six in 2010 - 2011.
Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says the results are encouraging since the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test was harder. But since the test was tougher, the Board of Education decided no school would drop more than one letter grade.
Stewart says that means 12 high schools received a better grade than they deserved.
"Because of all the changes that had gone into place in the '11-'12 school year, the state board in an effort to stabilize, allowed for only one grade drop. We're on the right track. Schools are moving ahead. We raise the rigor when we focus on what's important to us. When we focus on measurement, schools and, more importantly, our students do better. So I think it tells us that we're on the right track and we need to continue moving forward."
The Department of Education is releasing last year's high school grades about six months late, raising the question of what value they offer parents now.
Stewart admits that does make it harder to make an assessment of schools' performance
"I understand that with the lag of it being about six months late, that does make it difficult for individuals to really make an assessment of the schools' performance and we're already thinking about the '12-'13 year and yet we're focusing on what happened last year. But I think it still informs the schools, it informs the district and I think it can in fact inform parents even though it is somewhat lagging information."
Next year, the state will not use the policy of preventing any school from dropping more than letter grade.