Florida Schools Should Quit Focusing on Grades to Evaluate Success
Continuing its streak for not being accountable, the Florida Department of Education recently announced that it incorrectly graded hundreds of schools across the state. In fact, 40 out of 60 school districts in the state were affected by this miscalculation of grades.
This error occurred when the FDOE omitted one part of the newly revised and very complex grading formula that is used to evaluate the schools. Since the error was discovered, the grades have been corrected, resulting in 116 schools seeing their grades increase from a B to an A, 55 seeing their grades increased from a C to a B, and 35 schools seeing their grades increase from a D to a C.
“School grades are important to students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and the community,” said Gerard Robinson, Commissioner of Education. “And, while I am pleased that the continuous review process has resulted in better grades, we will continue to look for ways to improve the grade calculation process.”
The school grades are based mainly on a standardized test that focuses on reading, writing, math, and science called the FCAT. The results of these grades are used for a number of purposes, including determining which schools receive financial rewards. However, many people are saying this test is too rigorous for most students and that students might feel too discouraged after taking it.
Rick Roach, an educator who took the FCAT and did not pass, made his results public.
“It seems to me something is seriously wrong here,” he said about the test. “If I’d been required to take those two tests when I was a 10th grader, my life would almost certainly have been very different. I’d have been told I wasn’t ‘college material,’ would probably have believed it, and looked for work appropriate for the level of ability that the test said I had.”
Roach currently has two master’s degrees and is a member of the Orange County School Board.
So, it seems that perhaps the Florida Department of Education should take a look at what it has been doing lately, concerning standardized tests and grading of schools in the state. Perhaps grades are not all they are cracked up to be.
“Moving forward, we need to focus our attention on the quality of the work produced and student achievement, not just a letter grade,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.
Via The Huffington Post
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