Florida Department of Education: School Grades Exceeding Expectation

On Thursday, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) released school grades for the 2021-2022 academic year, which show that schools statewide exceeded expectations.

The 2021-2022 school grades mark the first full school grade data release since 2019 due to the lack of assessments in the 2019-2020 school year and the opt-in nature of the 2020-2021 school grades. FDOE praised “the hard work of Florida’s students, parents, teachers and school leaders as their collective efforts to support student achievement resulted in school grades that defied conventional wisdom and established a foundation for further closing achievement gaps.”

Key Highlights:

• Fifty-three schools exited the School Improvement Support list in 2022.

• 100 percent of schools graded F in 2019 improved their grades in 2022, including one that earned a B and six that earned a C.

• 84 percent of schools graded D and F in 2019 improved their grades in 2022.

• Overall, elementary schools had the largest increase in the percentage of schools increasing their grade with 20 percent (351) of elementary schools improving one or more letter grade.

• 469 schools increased their grade in 2022, while 825 schools maintained an A grade and 348 schools maintained a B grade compared to 2019.

“From Spring 2021 to Spring 2022, it’s clear that our teachers and school leaders used every resource at their disposal to lift Florida’s students well beyond expectations,” said state Education Commissioner Manny Diaz. “We know that these results are thanks to policies that kept schools open and kept kids in the classroom, which has been widely recognized as critical to student achievement. Today we can celebrate these incredible results, while continuing to support the schools that are struggling. With Governor DeSantis’ leadership, Florida will continue to support our great teachers and implement world class instructional and educational supports to uplift Florida’s education family.”

“When I reflect on these school grades and the recent test results, the significant student growth, achievement gap closure and school-wide achievements validate Florida’s approach to get our schools open first and return to normalcy as quickly as possible,” said State Board of Education Chairman Tom Grady. “The lesson to learn here is that the tools and supports we provide our teachers and high-quality instruction and curriculum matter and they make a difference in our schools.”

“Less than a year ago, the data showed that nearly 1,500 elementary schools would require additional literacy supports and over 800 schools would likely be placed on the School Improvement Support list,” said State Board of Education Member Monesia Brown. “Today, with these results reflecting 168 schools placed on the School Improvement Support list, we are extremely pleased to see our schools rise to the challenge and exceed conventional wisdom.”

Low-Performing Schools See Major Improvements:

In the 2020-2021 academic school year, Florida schools that tested more than 90 percent of students were eligible to opt-in to receive a letter grade. However, compared to the grades that schools would have received based on 2020-2021 assessment results, there were several important improvements achieved in the 2021-2022 school year.

The number of schools receiving an F was significantly lower than expected.

Assuming grades had been issued to all schools in 2019-2020, Florida saw a significant reduction in F schools (from 244 projected schools to 30 schools).

The number of “D” or “F” schools has declined 65 percent since 2015 and the number of “F” schools has declined 85 percent (30 schools) since 2015 (205 schools).

Florida’s most vulnerable students at our most fragile schools continue to beat the odds by increasing student performance. Schools supported by the Bureau of School Improvement continue to see success year after year. Among the schools receiving state support in 2021-22, 70 percent (53 schools) improved their performance and exited state support. Of the 25 schools implementing a State Board of Education-approved Turnaround plan, 80 percent (20 schools) exited Turnaround by earning a 2022 grade of C or higher.

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