- Florida has an overall clear, student-focused vision around high standards, college and career readiness, and rigorous accountability and improvement.
- It makes the case, fairly convincingly, and using historic data, that the approach it has taken to date is working and that it plans to stay the course.
- Florida also has a clearly defined and easy-to-understand A-F grading system, which places a strong emphasis on academic growth and accelerated coursework.
- The system identifies struggling schools to ensure stakeholders, schools, and students know how schools are serving their students each year and to guide differentiated school improvement strategies.
- Florida’s inclusion of science and social studies assessments is another strong element, as are the subsequent interventions for schools that do not exit improvement.
- Florida’s approach to incorporating subgroups in its accountability system is a significant area for improvement and exposes some shortcomings of the state’s existing system.
- The state does not include individual subgroup data in its A-F grades, and only disaggregates its growth indicator by examining the lowest-performing quartile of students in a school.
- While Florida provides data demonstrating that the combined group over-represents students from traditionally-underserved subgroups, it is unclear if schools could receive high grades even if individual subgroups are performing poorly.
- The state focuses on overall school performance averages to identify schools. This approach is not only inconsistent with ESSA, but could also result in schools with low-performing subgroups failing to receive targeted support.
- Florida also has not incorporated an indicator of progress toward English language proficiency, as is required by ESSA, in its school identification process, and does not mention providing any accommodations or supports for its significant portion of students who are English learners.