More confusion over FCAT-based school grades

5:08 PM, Jul 23, 2012   |    comments
Florida Education Association Vice President Joanne McCall says the latest school grade changes based on the FCAT show the system is flawed: "I think parents across this state should be outraged."
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Tallahassee, Florida - Lately it seems parents of schoolchildren in Florida need a scorecard to keep up with the changes.

The Florida Department of Education has issued more changes in school grades based on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

The department says it has discovered more than 200 public schools received the wrong grade when school grades came out two weeks ago.

Now 213 schools are improving one letter grade as a result. That's eight percent of the nearly 2,600 schools elementary, middle and combination schools that received grades.

This is the latest in a series of changes for the FCAT. The State Board of Education decided no school would drop more than one letter grade because the FCAT was harder this year. As a result, nearly 400 schools received better grades than they deserved.

The Florida Education Association says it looks like the state is manipulating the FCAT to get better results. 

FEA Vice President Joanne McCall says parents ought to be outraged over the continuing confusion and frustration caused by the FCAT.

"They should be calling the commissioner. They should be calling their members of the House and Senate and they should be calling their school boards, and they should demand that things be done differently. We should scrap the system and we should get all the stakeholders that are in this together and come up with a system that is fair, accountable and accurate -- and where we're not changing it every single year."

"This is another example of the flawed system, and when are we going to decide that it's flawed, put it aside and do the right thing by kids, and students, and the people who work in our public schools?"

Of the 213 schools receiving different grades, more than half of those move up from a "B" to an "A." Seven improve from an "F" to a "D."

Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson says he's pleased the department's continuing review process has resulted in better grades for some schools, and he says the department will look for ways to improve grade calculations in the future.

Dave Heller

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