School Grades to Be Released During Week Beginning July 10, 2016
Orange County Superintendent Barbara Jenkins and Seminole County Superintendent Walt Griffin caution community to consider 2015-2016 as the baseline year
(SANFORD, Fla.) School grade calculations as determined by the state using the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) will be released in the coming days. Superintendents Barbara Jenkins of Orange County and Walt Griffin of Seminole County encourage parents, students, and the community to view the 2015-2016 school grade calculations as our baseline year. These school grades will reflect learning gains made by students, which could not be captured from the 2014-2015 FSA as there were no previous, similar tests to use for comparison. It was noted in the release of the first year of FSA-determined school grades that the grades were only partial, so any comparison to this year's grades would be inappropriate.
Dr. Jenkins said, “It is important for our community, especially our parents and students, to know that learning gains are now more difficult to attain. If we see a decrease in school grades, it will likely be because of the new and complicated learning gains structure.”
Dr. Griffin said, “We believe the new calculation of learning gains implemented in this year’s formula will result in school grade drops for many schools compared to the inflated grades that were released last year. The learning gains calculation is complicated and confusing. It needs to be overhauled and completely revised.”
For example, high school grades do not account for students who successfully completed Algebra 1 in middle school. Also, the 2015-2016 high school grades are calculated using data from 2014-2015 in areas such as graduation rates and how many students who take advanced coursework. These factors do not depict accurately the high schools’ measure of success.
Both superintendents stand firmly behind the hard work of their students, teachers, and administrators. Potentially lower grades will misrepresent what happens in class rooms in Orange and Seminole counties every day during the school year.
OCPS and SCPS will continue to advocate for a more accurate and improved accountability system where schools are not simply labeled with a single letter grade.