Home A project of States Newsroom
News
FL unveils district grades from A to F as a first baseline under changed academic standards

Share

FL unveils district grades from A to F as a first baseline under changed academic standards

Dec 11, 2023 | 5:44 pm ET
By Christian Casale
Share
FL unveils district grades from A to F as a first baseline under changed academic standards
Description
Classroom. (Getty Images)

Florida’s school districts will still be graded from A to F, but how the state measures those scores have gone through a substantial change, with results from the 2022-2023 academic year released by the state Monday as a new baseline.

Florida’s 67 public school districts show that 16 districts in 2022-23 earned an “A” grade in various subjects in state exams. And 24 districts received a “B” and 10 scored a “C.” The state gave no school district a “D” or “F” grade.

Florida now tracks education progress through a new system after the passage of the “Student Assessments” bill in 2022, which “substantially modifies Florida’s statewide standardized assessment program,” according to a bill analysis.

Progress monitoring of schools and districts is now done through the new Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards. Included in this metric are the Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (FAST) assessments and any end-of-course exams that are B.E.S.T.-aligned. 

“These school grades serve as a baseline for districts and provide a starting point for future achievement,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. in a Monday statement. “I look forward to seeing schools rise to the occasion as they continue to provide Florida students a first-rate education.”

The state now expects districts and schools to use their grades from the 2022-2023 school year as a benchmark to “make changes in instructional practices that will lead to better outcomes for students,” the Florida Department of Education said in a statement.

Under these initial baseline grades, there will be no negative consequences for poor results and schools and districts will not face penalties, the FDOE said. However, any potential consequences for poor grades will return for the 2023-2024 school year.

There were seven components that went into a school’s grade: scores in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies as well as graduation rates, scores for Middle School end-of-course assessments, and scores on AP, IB or AICE exams. All measured on a scale of 0% to 100%.

For a district to receive an “A” rating, it must score 68% or greater. For a “B,” between 67% and 58%. The report states everything below 57% is a “C,” but doesn’t include the cut-offs for a “D” or “F” grades.

Three school districts – Jefferson, Madison, and Gadsen – received an “I” grade from the state, indicating their data did not accurately represent their progress, according to a state report. This could be because either less than 95% of the district’s eligible student population was tested, or because the validity tests are in question.

“Upon conclusion of the review and investigation and a determination by the department that the data accurately represent the progress of the school or district, the department will assign a letter grade to the school or district,” the report said.

Any learning gains will not be reported until there are two years of data under the new system, according to a DOE report.

Nathan Hoffman, a Senior Legislative Director for the Foundation for Florida’s Future — an education nonprofit founded by former Gov. Jeb Bush — said in a statement the results are an important reminder of the need for standardized and transparent ways to monitor the progress of schools.

“Due to the introduction of a new state test this year, officials will look at proficiency as the primary measure of the school’s success,” Hoffman said. “Next year, grades will once again include learning gains because officials will have data to compare student growth against the prior testing year.”

Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, was unavailable for comment.

The complete breakdown of districts and their grades from the past two school years are as follows:

District 2022-2023 2021-2022
ALACHUA B B
BAKER B B
BAY B B
BRADFORD C C
BREVARD B B
BROWARD B B
CALHOUN B B
CHARLOTTE B B
CITRUS B C
CLAY A A
COLLIER A A
COLUMBIA B B
MIAMI-DADE A A
DESOTO C C
DIXIE B B
DUVAL B B
ESCAMBIA B B
FLAGLER B B
FRANKLIN C C
GADSDEN I C
GILCHRIST A A
GLADES C C
GULF B B
HAMILTON C C
HARDEE C C
HENDRY C C
HERNANDO B B
HIGHLANDS C C
HILLSBOROUGH B B
HOLMES C C
INDIAN RIVER A B
JACKSON B B
JEFFERSON I C
LAFAYETTE A A
LAKE B B
LEE B B
LEON B B
LEVY B B
LIBERTY A A
MADISON I C
MANATEE B B
MARION B C
MARTIN B B
MONROE B B
NASSAU A A
OKALOOSA A A
OKEECHOBEE C C
ORANGE B B
OSCEOLA B B
PALM BEACH B A
PASCO B B
PINELLAS B B
POLK C C
PUTNAM C C
ST. JOHNS A A
ST. LUCIE B B
SANTA ROSA A A
SARASOTA A A
SEMINOLE A A
SUMTER A B
SUWANNEE B B
TAYLOR B C
UNION B B
VOLUSIA B B
WAKULLA A B
WALTON A A
WASHINGTON B B