School Grade Mitigation  



    State Board of Education


    6AER13-1School Grade Mitigation

    SPECIFIC REASONS FOR FINDING AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE: The mission of Florida’s educational system is to increase the proficiency of all students by allowing them to expand their knowledge and skills through learning opportunities. Florida’s school grading system is designed to further that mission by providing timely and accurate information to districts, schools, parents and teachers about the performance of schools. Within the past 24 months, numerous and varied changes have been made to the manner that schools are graded.

    A number of school district superintendents have stated that the number and pace of the changes have had a deleterious impact on the district’s ability to implement and refine strategies to increase the proficiency of students and that the resources needed to prepare for full implementation of the common core state standards, will be diverted without an amendment to the grading rule. These standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, are designed to ensure that all students, regardless of demography, graduate from high school prepared to enter college or the workforce.

    These dangers were not foreseen or foreseeable; the data on which to base school grades was not available until the results of standardized assessments were finalized in June and programming necessary to establish grades was occurring in June and July. Further, district superintendents informed the Department of the dangers in a July 1st meeting and school grades are scheduled to be released in the month of July. Based upon the foregoing, the agency finds an immediate danger to public welfare requires an emergency rule mitigating the effect of the changes to the school grade rule.

    A school’s grade has wide-ranging impact for districts, parents, students, and tax-payers. It is necessary that school grades be released as soon as possible after the close of one school year to allow school districts time to prepare for the next school year. Preparations which must be taken by school districts as a result of school grades include: contracting for services to poor performing schools; closing repeat, poor performing schools; shifting staff, students, and faculty; allocating special service cases, reallocating dollars appropriated through the Florida Education Finance Program; and providing opportunity scholarships to students attending failing schools.

    There is not sufficient time to amend the rule by the non-emergency rulemaking procedures. Florida school districts must prepare for the 2013-2014 school year between July1 and August, when the 2013-14 school year starts, and school grades must be released well in advance. As a result, there is not time to make the change through normal rulemaking procedures.

    REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE PROCEDURE IS FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: Because school begins in August, there is not sufficient time to amend the rule through non-emergency means before the start of the 2013-14 school year. An emergency rule was discussed at a taskforce meeting held on July 1, 2013. The meeting was open to the public and broadcast statewide. Further, the emergency rule was discussed at a State Board meeting held on July 16, 2013. The meeting was noticed in the Florida Administrative Register and was open to the public. Further, the emergency rule was published on the Department’s website, an email notice was provided to interested persons based upon the agency’s list-serve and the media were provided notice of the meeting, all in an effort to reach interested persons.

    SUMMARY: The emergency rule provides that a school's grade cannot decrease by more than one letter grade at a time.

    THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: Ed Croft, Bureau Chief, Accountability Reporting, Accountability, Research, and Measurement, 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1401, Tallahassee, Florida 32399, (850)245-0429




    6AER13-1 School Grade Mitigation.

    Notwithstanding any other rule to the contrary, if a school grade preliminarily calculated under Rule 6A-1.09981, F.A.C., is more than one (1) letter grade below the school’s grade for the prior year, the points assigned based upon the provisions of Rule 6A-1.09981(5)(a)1., 2., and 3., F.A.C., shall be adjusted such that a school’s letter grade is reduced by no more than one (1) letter grade. The points earned shall be evenly allocated across the components in subparagraphs (5)(a)1., 2., and 3., of Rule 6A-1.09981, F.A.C., in order to ensure that a school’s grade is based upon the components of student achievement, learning gains and the improvement of the lowest 25th percentile.

    Rulemaking Authority 1001.02, 1008.22, 1008.34, 1008.345 FS. Law Implemented 1008.22, 1008.34, 1008.345 FS. History – New 7-16-13.  



    EFFECTIVE DATE: July 16, 2013