Saturday, July 27, 2013

Brevard Schools Questions “Legitimacy” of School Grades

VIERA, Florida - In response to a significant drop in school grades for elementary and middle schools in the county, Brevard Public Schools is calling into question changes made by the state – particularly as it relates to Brevard’s only “F” school – Endeavour Elementary in Cocoa.

According to Michelle Irwin, of BPS Office of Communications, “Last year, the state raised the cut scores for both math and reading. Total points and grades dropped all over the state, but not at Endeavour. They were one of only ten elementary schools in BPS that actually increased their total points—from 402 to 408. To put it in perspective, the average drop in total points for BPS elementary schools last year was 39. It was higher for the state.
“When a school serves a significantly large percentage of at-risk children, raises the performance of those students two years in a row, and then sees their letter grade drop to an ‘F,’ it certainly makes suspect the legitimacy of our school grade accountability.”

Irwin also said that Endeavour improved student performance in seven-of-eight measurement areas and remained constant in the eighth.  “Had the same accountability rules been in place this year as last, Endeavour would have lifted their grade from a ‘D’ to a ‘C’.”

53% of schools in the state dropped a letter grade, while 50% went down in Brevard.  Irwin added that the Commissioner of Education, Dr. Tony Bennett, has said “these drops have occurred because Florida has significantly increased the scores required for students to demonstrate proficiency.”
Irwin also said that – while BPS disagrees with the negative reflection of the scores – the school system will look for ways to improve.  “The significant changes that have been made to our accountability system over the last two years make it very difficult to examine year-over-year performance. Having said that, we will dig into these student performance results, just as we always have, to see where we might look to make programmatic changes designed to improve the achievement of our students.”

 

 

 

 

 

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