February 21, 2013

SHS: School grade remains the same

Roush: School grade “C” is accurate

February 21, 2013 Bryant Thigpen Suwannee Democrat

Live Oak — A misunderstanding of how Suwannee High School’s school grade was issued had many believing the “C” grade status was inaccurate. SHS Principal Ted Roush confirmed that the school grade was accurate, however, it was calculated with a different formula than in past years.

Roush said that questions arose from the accountability reports that were released by the Florida Department of Education on their Florida School Grades homepage in December.

“We noticed that the state had applied a weighting scale of 80 percent and 20 percent instead of the 50 percent and 50 percent,” Roush said.

Roush said there are different ways schools are assessed.

“Depending on the grade levels that the school serves. For combination schools that serve a kindergarten through 12th grade population, the weighting for school grade calculations is 80 percent state based assessments and 20 percent high school grading components. For schools that are sixth grade through 12th grade, the state weights apply at 70 percent state based assessments and 30 percent high school grading components. For schools that are ninth grade through 12th grade it is 50 percent state based assessments and 50 percent high school grading components,” said Roush.

When the opportunity school was moved to the high school campus, it was believed that since the number of students attending below the ninth grade was so small, historically, the state did not consider SHS to be a K-12 grade school and the grade was based on the 50-50 weights. But in 2011-12 when the rules changed, SHS was reclassified as a K-12 school.

Roush said the state decided to change a school's accountability weighting type because the school served 10 or more students below their grade level configuration of grades 9-12.

“Because we had students being served in the opportunity school that were below grade nine, and there were 10 or more students being served, the state defaulted our accountability type to the 80 percent state based assessments and 20 percent high school grading components; that of a K-12 school,” he said.

Roush said the reclassification of the school’s configuration had no impact on the school’s grade.

“The weighting of 80 percent and 20 percent respectively, did not affect the ‘C’ grade being assigned,” Roush said. “However, after having the Department of Education take a second look and running an analysis using the 50 percent and 50 percent weighting, the school grade of ‘C’ was unchanged. As a result, the DOE assignment of that being a K-12 status had no effect on the school grade outcome.”

Roush said the school district communicated with DOE and has cleared up the opportunity school issue.


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