TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – After hearing from concerned parents, educators and school officials, including Miami-Dade Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, the state’s Board of Education passed a revised proposal which changes the way schools are graded.
One of the revisions dealt with the “proficiency trigger” which automatically gave schools an “F” if fewer than 25 percent of their students were able to read at grade level, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald. Under the approved proposal, schools will only be docked a letter grade if they don’t hit the 25 percent mark and this won’t start until the beginning of the next school year.
“From where we were a week ago to where we got today, I think we made a great deal of improvements especially around the elimination for this proficiency trigger associated with the 25 percent reading performance, that’s important,” said Carvalho.
One of the more contested provisions, which calls for including students who are learning English and those with disabilities in the grading the school’s success, was kept by the board. Previously, those students were judged on improvements they made over the course of the year and not if they were at grade level.
As a concession to critics, the board said a task force of educators, parents and experts would be convened to see if this provision was sound and necessary.
Overall, Carvalho said the changes made by the board were a move in the right direction.
“In the process, we moved to a more reasonable policy that serves all students,” Carvalho told the paper.
Carvalho said if the changes weren’t made, and the revision passed, the number of “F” schools in the state would have gone from around 30 to more than 300. It’s not clear how the revisions will impact school grades.
Rosa Maria Barbara, who is on an advisory panel for students with disabilities, said the new rules are hurtful to some of South Florida’s most vulnerable students.
“It will further stigmatize our students with disabilities or severe disabilities as not desirable in a regular classroom,” said Barbara.
Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson said a tougher grading system was necessary to help Florida compete on a global level. He contends the present grading scheme was unacceptable because it’s possible to get an “A” even though three out of four students cannot read on grade level. Additionally, a new grading was needed to incorporate new state exams and to qualify for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law.