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Lee schools get another ‘A’

By Staff | Aug 7, 2010

Even though this year’s FCAT results and School Grades were delayed, the Lee County School District was proud to report on Friday that it continues to be an A district.
Grades released this week are only for elementary and middle schools because changes to the high school grading system will be delaying those scores until November. The district stated that 85 percent of 73 schools earned either an A or B, determined by student performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
The state’s grading system is based on points awarded to schools depending on the percentage of students who score a 3 or above on the FCAT. In the end, the number of points are tabulated and fall into a grade range of A to F.
According to the school district, 50 schools earned an A, 12 schools earned a B and 11 schools earned a C. Lee County is the only district not have any D or F schools.
“Since the FCAT was implemented, our students and schools have shown a steady rise academically, and I fully anticipate that trend to continue despite what the 2009/10 FCAT grades may or may not show across the state,” said Lee Schools Superintendent James Browder, in a prepared statement.
Twenty-nine of Florida’s 67 school districts earned an A this year. Last year, 34 districts earned A’s, but Friday’s results don’t include high school grades.
Districts statewide and the Florida Association of District School Superintendents urged the Florida Department of Education not to release grades at this time.
NCS Pearson, the company which entered into a $254 million contact with the FLDOE to score the FCAT, delayed scores until this summer because of a software glitch which matched student scores with demographic profiles.
While the state contracted with a number of organizations — Buros, HumRRO, and The Center for Assessment — to look over the results of this year’s FCAT, district officials across the state continue to be uncertain about the validity of the results, especially in the fourth and fifth grade.
Grades are used to determine performance pay for principals and teachers, school recognition dollars or even sanctions from the state, therefore some don’t want the grades issued until they are sure of accuracy.
“I’m glad the state had the FCAT results reviewed, but we are still waiting for a concrete answer as to why there have been such widespread anomalies statewide,” said Browder. “I think until this is explained in a definitive manner, people will question the results.”
Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith said the results from each of the reviewers found that this year’s FCAT exam and results are valid.
“Those experts concluded their audits earlier this week with a resounding vote of confidence in both our assessment system and the results produced by it,” said Smith, in a statement released with school grades.
According to the FADSS, reviewers determined that 2010 results are more closely aligned to the 2008 exam, and as a result they are concerned that educators are missing out on measuring learning gains for 2009 and 2010.
Browder said the community needs to have confidence in any high stakes assessment like the FCAT.
“I only hope we avoid a similar situation this coming school year,” he said.
For a complete listing of school grades visit www.leeschools.net .