Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Orange Park Schools Appeal Grades They Received from State

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

2 Orange Park Schools Appeal Grades They Received from State

Article excerpt

Byline: Beth Reese Cravey, County Line staff writer

Two Clay County public schools -- Orange Park Elementary and Orange Park High -- have appealed the grades they received from the state.

But Clay school district officials said they have not yet found out whether the state Department of Education will reconsider the two schools' grades, which are based largely on student's reading, writing and math scores in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Orange Park Elementary received a B in the 2001 grading, down from the A it received last year, which brought prestige and bonus money from the state. Orange Park High received a C, the same as last year.

The reason for appealing the elementary school's grade was that it missed getting an A by only one percentage point in its FCAT writing scores, said Walter Brock, the district's assistant superintendent for instruction. The school's scores in reading and math qualified for an A, but the number of students who made the highest writing scores dropped.

OPE received an A in 2000 "based, in part, on the incredible fact that 100 percent of the fourth-grade students scored 3 or above in the writing category," said Superintendent David Owens, in a letter to the state. "Based on the current criteria for the school grade of A, the only way Orange Park Elementary could remain an A for 2001 was for the percentage of fourth graders scoring 3 or above to drop no lower than 95 percent in writing."

But the percentage dropped to 94 percent, so the school got a B.

Since the Legislature designated scores between 90 and 100 as the scale for academic excellence for high school students Brock said in the letter, "it would seem appropriate that the criteria for school grades . . . also reflect [the same] standard."

Brock said "it seems unjust" that a school with A scores in two subject areas should be penalized a full letter grade for a 6 percent decline in another subject area. …

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