School grades and AP: FDOE tells Gradebook that intention is to reward passing scores on AP exams

Gradebook’s Jeff Solochek asked the Florida Department of Education to clarify how Advanced Placement courses would count toward school grades under Commissioner Stewart’s proposed scheme, which will be presented to the Florida Board of Education on Tuesday.

Jeff reports that an FDOE spokesperson said, “…the focus is on the whole group earning at least some college credit (through either AP, IB, AICE, or dual enrollment) or industry certification. The goal is to have more students exiting high school with either college credit or an industry certification in hand.”

That is, they want to reward schools for students who pass the AP exam, not just those who take the AP course.

I previously concluded otherwise – and I’m not ready to change my mind yet.  Here’s why:

AP exam scores are not reported until July 1.  The Commissioner has said that she wants to report high school grades at the same time as grades for elementary and middle schools are reported.  Under the present grading system with all of the additional factors in high school grades – including AP exam results – high school grades have been reported months after the grades for other schools.  Last year, elementary and middle school grades were reported late in July, and high school grades were reported in December.

Is it possible for the FDOE to obtain AP exam results on July 1 and then release high school grades incorporating these results by the end of July?  I’m a physicist, so it seems to me the answer should be yes.  But there is probably much more to the process of preparing school grades for public release than automatically filling in boxes on a spreadsheet.  For one thing, I would think that ad nauseam checking for errors would be called for.  Based on the department’s previous timelines, it’s unlikely that the accountability staff would be able to release high school grades by the end of July if AP exam results are taking into account.

With apologies to the Politifact folks, I rate the FDOE claim reported by Jeff Solochek “Mostly False”.

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1 Response to School grades and AP: FDOE tells Gradebook that intention is to reward passing scores on AP exams

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