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Hillsborough Superintendent: State's district rankings "simplistic measure"
News, Schools
Hillsborough Superintendent: State's district rankings "simplistic measure"

Hillsborough County, FL -- On Monday, Jan 23, the Florida Department of Education released its district rankings for the state.

Later that day, Hillsborough County Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia released a statement criticizing the rankings by calling them "a simplistic measure that represents a step backwards for a state that has made great strides over the last 10 years in using complex data to shed light on real progress and accountability".

In calculating the rankings, the state used the FCAT points that resulted in district grades in late June.  In a release from Hillsborough County Public Schools, Elia said the "broad-strokes comparison doesn't shed light on the amazing work our teachers are doing".

"We believe that when you look at a variety of measures – graduation rates, the number of students succeeding in rigorous courses, the number of students receiving industry certification, the number of National Merit Scholars, FCAT scores, and scores on national tests – that provides a more balanced, more accurate picture,” Elia argued.

In the release, Elia pointed out other measures Hillsborough's district uses that might shed additional light on their district's performance:

  • Hillsborough had a 85.1% graduation rate, which is best among Florida’s large districts
  • Dropout rate – 0.8% for Hillsborough, best among Florida’s large districts
  • Performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (known as The Nation’s Report Card) – Hillsborough fourth graders had the highest marks among 21 participating urban districts around the nation on the reading test and earned a statistical tie for second in the math test, while Hillsborough’s eighth graders rated a tie for first among the 21 participating districts in reading and statistically tied for second in math
  • Industry certification – In the past four years, the number of Hillsborough students achieving industry certification has increased from 24 in 2008 to 1,628 in 2011. Industry certification ensures that a student has completed a rigorous program and is ready to work in industry
  • Advanced Placement – In the past five years, Hillsborough nearly doubled the number of students earning a 3 or above on AP tests


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