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Big Bend High Schools Hold Steady Under New Grading Rules


The Florida Department of Education has rolled out the last batch of school grades it will issue under the outgoing Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

For the most part, Leon County’s high school grades remained unchanged from last year, despite a harder grading scale. Lincoln High IS one of 55 high schools statewide to improve its letter grade, earning an “A”. That comes as the overall number of A-rated combination and high schools dropped. But Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart insists that’s a sign of progress.

“There was an automatic adjustment in school grades that once 75 percent or more of high schools were making A’s and B’s the bar would be ratcheted up so we would continue to improve," Stewart says.

Wakulla County’s only high school received a “B” grade, while Jefferson County’s joint middle-high school managed to increase it’ score from an “F” to a “D”. Gadsden’s two high schools received an “F” and a “D”, while Franklin County’s combined K-12 school increased its grade to a “C”. Next year schools will continue to be graded, but penalties associated with poor performance will be put on hold as the state transitions to new standards and new statewide exams.

Stewart says she does not expect the graduation rate to suffer as a result of the changes.

“Whenever we have held our students to higher expectations they rise to that occasion and they perform better. We believe our students are prepared, our teachers have been preparing and we think that our students will continue to improve and do better.”

School districts across the state are growing increasingly anxious about what will happen in the 2014-15 school year when new standards and tests are fully operational. A report from the Florida Department of Education shows the state graduation rate increased half a percentage point to 76.1 percent, an 11-year high.