Just as schools across the state were preparing for their winter breaks, the preliminary school grades for Florida high schools were released by the Department of Education (DOE) on Dec. 18.
Clewiston High School fared better this year than last in terms of points despite some changes in the grading system.
Clewiston High remained at a grade C for the second year in a row, but earned 35 more points this year than in 2013.
Since the grading system was altered this year, Clewiston High earned a C with 1038 points out of 1600, two points away from a B grade; in 2013 and earlier, schools earned a B with only 990 points.
More Clewiston High students also earned a satisfactory grade on the FCAT 2.0 reading, writing, math and science in 2014 compared to 2013. And for the second year in a row, Clewiston High earned more points than Labelle High School, which earned a grade C with 1003 points.
Statewide, 36 percent of Florida’s high schools earned an A grade, 35 percent earned a B, 24 percent earned a C, three percent earned a D and two percent earned an F. The number of schools earning an A dropped this year in part to the new grading system, which DOE implemented to accommodate for new assessments and standards being added in the 2015/16 school year. This year’s school grades will be used only for information and schools will not be penalized for receiving a lower score in 2014.
The school grades released this month are also preliminary and will be finalized only after the school grades appeals period ends.
School grades are meant to communicate how well a school is performing relative to state standards, graduating its students and preparing its students for postsecondary education.
High school grades are based primarily on student achievement and learning gains data from state assessments, which constitute 50 percent of the grade.
The remaining 50 percent is comprised of “other” factors, including the progress of the lowest 25-percent of students, the meeting of performance standards, participation and performance in accelerated course work, graduation rate of students and postsecondary readiness of students. Student performance on the U.S. History end-of-course (EOC) exam was also added to the school-grade equation for the first time in 2014.
Schools are rated from A to F based on a 1,600-point scale, and since the implementation of the A-F grading system in 1999, the standards have been raised several times.
Just last year, in 2013, the EOC exams for biology 1 and geometry were added to the school grades, the FCAT 2.0 Science standards were added and the FCAT 2.0 Writing standard was raised. In 2012, the FCAT received an overhaul to align with the new Sunshine State Standards and the FCAT 2.0 was rolled out. A new Algebra 1 EOC assessment was also implemented.