The number of Florida high schools earning an A in the last academic year fell by 25 percent as the state again changed its grading criteria.
The state’s graduation rate, meanwhile, inched up to 76.1 percent, an 11-year high, the Florida Department of Education reported Thursday. Pasco County had the Tampa Bay region’s highest graduation rate, at 79.4 percent, while Pinellas County had the greatest rise, 4.3 percentage points.
Hillsborough’s rate dropped to 73.5 percent and was the lowest among the state’s large counties.
In a conference call, state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart focused on how students continued to perform well despite increased expectations. Schools had to earn more points to make each grade, as the law required after more than 75 percent of high schools got A’s or B’s in 2013.
“Even with the higher bar, 55 (of 520) schools improved their letter grade,” Stewart noted. “There is a lot to celebrate.”