tampabay.com

Schools score record highs

But an increasing number of schools failed to meet federal standards.

By RON MATUS
Published June 14, 2006


TALLAHASSEE - Florida schools earned a record number of A and B grades this year, and their lowest number ever of D's and F's, according to state data released Wednesday.

But an increasing number of schools failed to meet federal standards, which could put many in line for a potentially dramatic shake-up.

Some 2,074 schools earned A's and B's, up from 1,843 last year, while only 153 got D's and F's, down from 308 last year.

School grades are based on student scores on the math, reading and writing portions of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, which is taken by every student in grades 3-10. The grading formula includes the school's overall scores, but also factors in improvement among low-performing students.

The federal system, on the other hand, looks at scores for a slew of subgroups, including minority, low-income and disabled students. A school's overall scores could be excellent, but if even one subgroup fails to meet benchmarks for proficiency, then under the No Child Left Behind Act the school is deemed in need of improvement.

According to federal data also released Wednesday, 72 percent of Florida schools failed to meet the federal standards, up from 64 percent in 2005.

The federal grading system comes with an escalating series of sanctions, which means that hundreds of Florida schools will be required again this year to offer its students free, private tutoring. For many of them, the clock will also begin ticking for a potentially major overhaul next year.

Statewide, 75 percent of schools earned A's or B's. Here are the percentages for districts in West Central Florida:

  • Pinellas, 78

  • Hillsborough, 74

  • Pasco, 70

  • Hernando, 70

  • Citrus, 83