TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida’s students may be behind in test scores nationally, but roughly 97 percent of teachers were rated as “effective” or “highly effective” under a new value-added model.

However, the scores released by state officials Wednesday showed a wide swath of scores among different school districts. This led to critics questioning the validity of the scores. Each school system determined its own scoring system, including student performance goals.

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The state teachers union said it still plans to lobby the Legislature to revise the law it passed last year to put the merit-based system in place. State officials said the tool is a valid assessment and they were expecting such discrepancies in the first year.

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Education official Kathy Hebda said schools were cautious in assigning baseline grades the first year and expects the grades will improve.

State officials said the merit-based system will hold teachers accountable for student performance. Teachers argue the system doesn’t add in problems students may have outside of school that could negatively impact their performance and isn’t reflective of a teachers performance.

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