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Final year for FCAT results, Florida begins Common Core-based standards

The is the final year schools will earn grades based FCAT exam results.
Next year, the state switches to the Florida Standards Assessment, which will test students on Florida's Common Core-based standards.

Reports cards for state elementary and middle schools were released today.
The number of Florida schools earning 'A' grades is up, but as Matt Galka tells us, some are worried that things will be much different next year.

195 more elementary schools and middle schools earned 'A' grades this year. Up 7 % from last year

Wayne Blanton
"Grades are up, we're very please by the hard work of teachers and administrators throughout the state of Florida, in fact it's up more than we anticipated."

It's a good sign in the last year of the current grading formula.  New Florida standards and a new state assessment test will replace the FCAT.  The Florida School Board Association expects the grades to look much different next year because of the changes

Matt Galka Question
"Do you expect grades to be different next year?"

Wayne Blanton/FSBA
"Well the grades will be all over the place next year, and we're still not sure what the final result of that will be, we're just going to have to wait and see. But I'm confident that we will be in good shape."

Matt Galka
Even if the grades are turned completely upside down next year, schools will get a one year grace period to implement the new standards

Schools are rewarded or penalized based on their grade. Senator Bill Montford who also represents the state's superintendents says he hopes the one year grace period is enough.

Sen. Montford Answer
"This fall we will get it ready, we will be ready to go, and then the truth will come out next spring when we take the exams. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope it all works out. If not, lets hope that we slow down, and pause, and lets get it right."

Along with good news in the final year of grading, there was bad. 'F' grades were up, with 7 % of schools receiving the low letter.

State democrats wanted a longer grace period, as many as three years, to implement the new standards. That measure was shot down, but Montford said it could be revisited if one year proves to not be long enough for schools.