By Matt Wiley

Wesley Chapel Education
Wesley Chapel Education

School report cards are out for the 2012-13 school year in the Pasco County School District (PCSD) and, overall, Wesley Chapel’s public elementary and middle schools once again scored well.

Of the 20 “A”-rated elementary and middle schools in Pasco (which received a “C” from the Florida Department of Education {DOE} this year, a letter grade drop from its “B” in 2011-12), six are Wesley Chapel schools, including Double Branch, Sand Pine, Seven Oaks, Veterans and Wesley Chapel elementary schools, as well as Dr. John Long Middle School.

High school grades have not yet been determined and will be released later in the year, usually in December.

Across the state, the DOE reports that the number of “A” elementary schools decreased from 861 (48%) in 2012 to 479 (27%) in 2013 and that the number of “B” elementary schools increased from 443 (25%) in 2012 to 503 (28%) in 2013.

In Wesley Chapel, the number of “A” elementary schools remained at five. No Wesley Chapel schools received a “B,” but three received a “Cs,” including New River, Quail Hollow and Watergrass.

The DOE reports that the number of “A” middle schools also decreased, from 255 “A” schools (44%) in 2012 to 177 (31%) in 2013, while the number of “B” middle schools increased from 122 (21%) in 2012 to 123 (21%) in 2013. In Wesley Chapel, while Long held steady at an “A,” Thomas E. Weightman Middle School dropped to a “B.”


A Higher Standard

It should be noted that schools across the state faced newly tougher state standards to earn their respective grades in 2012-13, as Florida gets ready to begin testing using standards set under the nationwide Common Core State Standards Initiative, a set of standards that already has been adopted by 45 states to establish “a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English, language arts and mathematics.”

Although many schools still performed well, despite the tougher standards, some schools, such as New River Elementary, already are looking at ways to improve next year. “It’s good to see the data, and this was a wake-up call,” says New River Elementary assistant principal Clara Craig about her school’s “C” grade. “We’re looking at the data for each student to see which areas need the most work, but also looking at their strengths to see how we can be enriching their learning.”

Craig says that New River is implementing two new strategies this year to hopefully raise the school’s score next year. For reading, New River is beginning a program called IRLA (Independent Reading Level Assessment), which will determine “a baseline reading level” for each student that the students then build upon, while learning new vocabulary and other Common Core concepts. Craig says that the program is more individual-based and helps students learn strategies that will help them read at higher levels.

And, in math, New River is starting a program called “Math Talk,” in which students practice problem-solving out loud and share strategies with the class, allowing students to build on others’ ideas toward finding a solution.

“We’re excited to work with the teachers and students to keep getting ready for Common Core,” Craig says.


The Formula

Based partly upon the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) 2.0, elementary school grades are measured using an 800-point scale for elementaries (900 for middle schools). The grades also take into account End-Of-Course (EOC) test scores, which are given in middle and high schools in a variety of subjects, and the Florida Alternate Assessment (FAA), an alternative test for students who are unable to complete the FCAT test due to cognitive disabilities.

Points are given for students who score “satisfactory” or higher and/or make learning gains. A point is awarded for each percent of the school’s students who score satisfactory or better in each subject area of each test.

For example, students that score a level 3 or higher on the math, reading and science FCAT 2.0 tests, and/or a level 4 on EOC tests, and a 3.5 or higher on FCAT writing, the percentage of students that achieve that level in each subject is the point value that the school is given. To earn an “A,” at least 95 percent of the school’s students must have been tested and at least 595 points must have been earned.

To determine learning gains, test scores for students in each subject on FCAT, EOC and FAA tests are examined by comparing those scores with the previous year. If students perform at the same level or improve on their achievement level, the school also earns points for that percentage of students.

For more info, please visit and click on the “School Grades” tab.


Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment