Out of the 67 counties in Florida, Escambia County ranked 44th, placing it in the bottom third of the state-even though it got a B grade. Thirty-five percent of the district’s students read below Level 3 (out of 5), 32% below Level 3 for Math and 52% below Level 3 for Science. Thirty-nine percent showed no improvements in reading last year; 34% in math.
For a superintendent contemplating running for a second term, these statistics aren’t good.
The statewide ranking is a new initiative by the Florida Department of Education. The district-by-district ranking is the first phase of an initiative that will soon include a list of all of the schools in the state ranked by number within the three main school groupings: elementary, middle and high school. The goal is to make it easier for parents to assess school district performance.
“I applaud Commissioner Robinson on these rankings. We all wish to ensure students have the opportunity to get a good education that will prepare them for a good job,” said Governor Rick Scott. “Ranking school districts by performance allows taxpayers to see their investment in education at work.”
The numerical ranking is based on each school’s total points derived from FCAT scores. The total is the sum of scores for reading, math, science and writing; learning gains in reading and math; and scores for learning gains in reading and math among the lowest 25 percent of students in each school. The school district ranking is determined by the school grade points they earned based on the assessment scores of all students in the district that were enrolled for the full year.
“Florida is considered a national leader when it comes to measuring the success of our schools,” said Florida Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson. “The Florida Department of Education developed the first-ever school grading program in 1999, and since then we have provided our model to other states that wish to replicate our exceptional accountability system.”
Commissioner Robinson added that using education performance data is essential for measuring student progress and school effectiveness to ensure that Florida’s educational system continues to move in the right direction.
“Ranking districts and schools based on data-driven results demonstrates Florida’s focus on ensuring students receive a high quality education and provides another helpful tool for parents, educators and taxpayers,” he said.
The department expects to publish a listing of schools throughout the state ranked by number in the near future.
The district rankings can be found at http://www.fldoe.org/SchoolDistrictRanking/.