Number of top-ranked schools in Florida drops

High school grades to be released later

ORLANDO, Fla. - The number of highly-rated schools in Florida is dropping sharply this year.

Florida education officials on Wednesday released annual school grades that showed a 24 percent drop in the number of A-rated elementary, middle and combination schools. Statewide, there was a 15 percent increase in "F" rated schools compared to last year.

The state had higher grading standards but didn't allow schools to drop more than one letter grade because of the tougher standards. 388 schools benefited from the adjustment, meaning they would have been graded worse than they actually are.

In Orange County, commissioners said 48 percent of the schools are graded "A", compared with 58 percent of schools last year. There were no change in the number of "F graded schools."

The districts' percentage of A-rated schools dropped from 2011-2012 by:

  • SUMTER 40%
  • OSCEOLA 28%
  • MARION 21%
  • FLAGLER 19%
  • BREVARD 19%
  • LAKE 14%
  • VOLUSIA 11%
  • ORANGE 10%

Orange County said the 10 percent loss of "A-schools" was a lot better than they expected. Schools like Hiawassee Elementary earned their first "A-grade" up from a "C" last year.

Local schools saw some improvement this year. More than half of Lake County School District operated elementary or middle schools raised or maintained their school grade and five schools increased grades in the 2011-2012 year.

In Osceola County, commissioners said 35 percent of schools were graded "A". Officials also reported 52 percent of Osceola schools maintained or improved their school grade.

Last year, the state had 1,481 schools receive A grades. This year, the number dropped to 1,124 schools.

[DATABASE:  Find out your school's grade]

The number of schools that received D and F grades increased.

Each year, the state hands out A-to-F grades that are used to reward top schools and sanction those that get failing marks.

Education Commissioner Gerard Robinson earlier this month warned that the school grades would drop because of recent changes to the state's grading system.

The State Board of Education in May voted not to let any school drop more than one letter grade.

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