School Grades Expected to be Low, State Task Force Reviewing - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

School Grades Expected to be Low, State Task Force Reviewing Impact

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Fear and anxiety are beginning to settle in over whether school grades will accurately reflect what's going on in Florida's classrooms. Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt expects every school in the county, even state, to drop a letter grade or two this year.

Overall school grades haven't been released for this past school year, but Husfelt said they'll likely not reflect the hard work of the teachers and students. Instead, "A" and "B" schools could drop to "C" or "D" schools because of new FCAT cut scores which were implemented two years ago.

"The State of Florida has become overwhelmed with scoring, FCAT testing, assessment, and evaluation. We don't mind being evaluated. We don't mind being assessed, but you can go too far, and we think it's gone too far," said Husfelt.

Husfelt raised his concerns at Tuesday afternoon's school board meeting. He also mentioned the Department of Education is working to address those concerns

DOE released the members' names of a state-wide task force. It will look at the impact of this year's school grades and whether they accurately reflect student performance.

The state implemented FCAT 2.0 two years ago. It includes tougher test questions and a tougher grading scale. Husfelt said last year the state recognized the effects of the harder test and prevented any school from dropping more than a letter grade, but that only delayed the inevitable.

"This year they're going back to what was originally supposed to happen, and what would have happened last year if they hadn't prevented it is going to happen this year. So what we've been saying all along is you didn't fix it. We said last year you didn't fix it. You just put it off for a year," said Husfelt.

The state released individual student FCAT scores earlier this month. The superintendent was pleased with how the district did overall.

Elementary and middle school grades are expected to be released sometime in July.