The Florida Department of Education on Monday acknowledged that it miscalculated school grades across Florida, while local education officials said the mistake will fuel more public distrust in the state's student-accountability system that's been under increasing attack in recent months.
DOE's mistake centered on its failure to use one new piece of the complicated grading formula that it had revised earlier this year, officials said Monday. That piece of the formula aimed to give schools extra credit if struggling students made significant gains on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
When state officials realized that some students had been left out of that part of the calculation, they revised grades for elementary and middle schools that had been released July 11.
The new, correct calculations boosted marks for 213 campuses statewide, including 28 in Central Florida, or about 8 percent of those graded schools, DOE announced late Friday.
Florida has been grading schools since 1999, and local school administrators said they could not remember another time when the state erred on such a large scale. Districts have always been able to appeal grades, but in most cases those appeal efforts are unsuccessful, in part because the state's data was accurate, they said.
The state association and many local school boards have adopted resolutions in recent months questioning Florida's heavy reliance on standardized tests to make key education decisions. Much-lower-than-expected FCAT writing scores — released in May — also fueled complaints that neither the FCAT nor the state's accountability system could be trusted...