TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Despite new higher academic standards, Florida’s high school students rose to the challenge in 2012, with 231 high schools getting an A grade, up from 148 in 2011. The Florida Department of Education released the preliminary results on Friday.

Students’ academic performance also overcame a more rigorous high school graduation rate formula and expanded the basis for college readiness measures.

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Better performance by a district’s students earns that district more school recognition funding.

Particularly in a down economy, that brings a smile to the face of Broward County School District Robert Runcie.

“Florida is leading the nation on raising the bar on student achievement and teacher performance. Broward County continues to work with students, teachers and all education stakeholders as we fully transition to Common Core State Standards and work together so every student performs at their full potential,” Runcie said.

Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart recognized the achievement as the result of a team effort.

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“I want to thank students, teachers, parents, and school leaders throughout the state for their commitment to academic success,” said Stewart. “This year’s results reflect both higher standards and temporary safeguards the State Board of Education approved to help smooth the transition.”

The largest increase in points for assessment-based components came from overall reading gains and reading gains of the lowest performing 25 percent of students, according to the Florida Department of Education.

School districts have an opportunity to appeal high school grades through February 1, 2013, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The results of that process will determine school recognition funds. To receive school recognition dollars a school must receive an A, increase grades from the previous year, maintain grades after improving two or more letter grades, or receive a school improvement rating of Improving.

Detailed information on the 2012 high school grades and a press packet with graphic displays of results are available on the department’s website at School Grades.

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(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel contributed to this report.)