Florida – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of the plan Florida submitted to the US ED on September 20, 2017. SREB will update the profile when Florida finalizes its plan.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Florida included the following college- and career-readiness expectation in its plan.

  1. School performance indicator: ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Florida’s indicator of school quality or student success awards points to middle grades schools and high schools for accelerating students towards readiness for college and careers in any of the following ways.
    • Middle grades
      • Proficiency on state high school end-of-course tests
      • Performance on Florida Career and Professional Education industry certification exams
    • High schools
      • AP exam score of 3 or higher; IB exam score of 4 or higher; or Advanced International Certification of Education exam score of 3 or higher
      • Completion of dual enrollment course with a letter grade of “C-” or higher
      • Attainment of Florida Career and Professional Education industry certification

Read about this expectation below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rates and English language proficiency for English learners.

Florida established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, the percentage of students who are proficient on Florida’s English language arts and math assessments will increase by 6 percent, to 58 percent.
  • Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, achievement gaps for each student subgroup on state assessments in each content area will decline by one-third.

Graduation rate

  • Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, the percentage of students who graduate from high school in four years will increase by 7.1 percent, to 85 percent.
  • Between 2014-15 and 2019-20, the high school graduation gap for each student subgroup will decline by one-third.

English language proficiency

  • Between 2016-17 and 2019-20, the percentage of English learners meeting annual growth targets on the state English language proficiency test will increase by 6 percent, to 66 percent.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators that states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate on these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Florida established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

School quality or student success:

  • Proficiency on state science assessments for elementary, middle grades and high schools – Florida Standards Assessments and end-of-course tests
  • Proficiency on state social studies assessments for middle grades and high schools – Florida Standards Assessments and end-of-course tests

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – Florida Standards Assessments

Other academic indicator: Academic progress (student growth) on state ELA and math assessments – Florida Standards Assessments

School quality or student success: Middle school acceleration

  • Proficiency on state high school end-of-course tests
  • Performance on Florida Career and Professional Education industry certification exams

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests
  • Student growth on state English language arts and math assessments – end-of-course tests

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success: High school acceleration

  • AP exam score of 3 or higher; IB exam score of 4 or higher; or Advanced International Certification of Education exam score of 3 or higher
  • Completion of dual enrollment course with a letter grade of “C-” or higher
  • Attainment of Career and Professional Education industry certification

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Florida established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups and subgroup size.

Framework for differentiating schools in Florida

On an annual basis, schools will receive an overall A through F letter grade, based on the sum of the points earned for each indicator (see possible points below).

Weights assigned to each indicator in Florida

Instead of assigning weighted percentages to each indicator, Florida assigns the following possible points to each indicator.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Florida - Elementary Schools (400 Other Academic Indicator (Academic Progress) / 200 Academic Achievement / 100 School Quality or Student Success), Middle Grades (400 Other Academic Indicator (Academic Progress) / 300 School Quality or Student Success / 200 Academic Achievement) and High Schools (400 Academic Achievement (Student Growth) / 300 School Quality or Student Success / 200 Academic Achievement (English Language Arts and Math) / 100 Graduation Rate)

Note. Florida will report school performance on the English language proficiency progress indicator on the school report card. English language proficiency will not count in school accountability determinations.

Student subgroups in Florida

  • Subgroups used: For state accountability, Florida will focus on two student subgroups – all students and the lowest-performing 25 percent of students. By using the lowest-performing 25 percent subgroup, Florida attempts to capture students from any subgroup including those who might not have been captured in schools that do not have enough students to meet the minimum number for a subgroup (see size of subgroup information below). For its school report card, Florida will use 10 additional subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander students, students of two or more races, and white students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 10 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

ESSA requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Florida established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified annually beginning in 2018-19, any school that meets any of these criteria: 

    • CSI schools: schools with an initial “F” letter grade, and a combination of “D” and/or “F” letter grades for two or more consecutive years
    • CSI high schools: any school with a graduation rate of 67 percent or less
    • TSI schools that become CSI schools: TSI schools that receive a second consecutive “D” letter grade

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local educational agencies and their schools by providing:

    • Regional field teams to support local leaders with strategic problem solving and capacity building
    • Interventions through the state’s differentiated accountability system include the following.
      • Site visits focused on data, problem solving and improvement planning
      • Assistance with district and school improvement plans
      • Guidance and support in developing and implementing a turnaround plan, monitoring progress, and conducting instructional reviews
      • Professional learning
      • Support in building relationships with stakeholders and between schools and districts

    After implementing an initial turnaround plan, schools not exiting CSI status − by not improving to at least a “C” letter grade − receive more intensive supports and must select one of the three remaining turnaround options: school closure, charter conversion, or management by an outside entity or external operator.  All turnaround plans are subject to approval by the state Board of Education.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After one year, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • Achieving an overall “C” or above letter grade
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        Identified annually beginning in 2018-19, any school that meets these criteria:

        • TSI schools: schools with an initial “D” letter grade

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local educational agencies and their schools by providing:

          • Regional field teams to support local leaders with strategic problem solving and capacity building
          • Interventions through the state’s differentiated accountability system include the following.
            • Site visits focused on data, problem solving and improvement planning
            • Assistance with district and school improvement plans
            • Technical assistance with identifying needs, developing a district or school improvement plan, monitoring progress, and conducting instructional reviews
            • Professional learning
            • Support with building relationships with stakeholders and between schools and districts

          Criteria for exiting this category

            After one year, schools can exit TSI status by:

            • Achieving an overall “C” or above letter grade

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.