What is Your Level 4 EOC Score Worth? It Depends on Which County You Live In…
ACCOUNTABALONEY ALERT: How your child’s state mandated End of Course (EOC) exam score is translated to their final course grade depends on which county you live in. Yep… it is accountabaloney.
Florida Statute (f.s. 1008.22(3)(b)4) requires that students enrolled in U.S. History, Civics, Biology, Algebra 1 and Geometry must take a state created End of Course exam (the Algebra 2 EOC was eliminated by HB7069 as of 7/1/17). Because the mandated EOC is required to be worth 30% of the student’s course grade, performance on these 5 exams can have a significant impact on a student’s overall Grade Point Average (GPA).
High school GPA is considered to be the best predictor of future success in college and, thus, is looked at very carefully during the college admissions process. In addition to college admissions, student GPA can be the determining factor in Bright Futures Scholarships and class rank. Students must maintain a minimal GPA to be allowed to participate in athletics and other extra-curricular activities. The impact of the state mandated EOC scores on student GPA places Florida’s public school students at a distinct disadvantage when compared to private school and out-of-state students, who are not required to sit for such exams.
Given the high stakes attached to the state EOCs, we were surprised to find that the conversion of the EOC score to the student’s course grade is anything but uniform. Students with the exact same score on the EOC may find the impact on their final course grade dramatically different, depending on what county they live in. We asked Directors of Assessment and Accountability, from across the state, to explain how EOC scores were converted into 30% of the student’s final grade. We got many different answers. By and large, we were told the FLDOE had provided NO guidance on this issue. Here is what we found:
Miami-Dade spells it out completely. Everyone is assigned either an A, B or D on their EOC and their final course grade is dependent on the student’s grade going into the EOC. If a student goes into the EOC with a class grade of an “A” or “B” and fails the EOC, they will see their final course grade drop. There is no way for a student with a “B” going into the EOC to raise their grade to an “A”, regardless of their performance on the EOC. If a student goes into the EOC with a class grade of “C”, “D” or “F”, their final grade will improve (if they pass the EOC) or remain the same. It seems like overly complicated accountabaloney to us:
In Broward, a 4 or 5 is an A, a 3 is a B, a 2 is a C, and a 1 is a D. “They just assign a letter grade, not a percent, and it gets averaged in as 30% of the final grade. Each of the four quarters count as 15% of the final grade and the midterm counts as 10% of the final grade.”
Several counties assign a specific percentage to each level score (the exam results are reported as a Level Score from 1-5, with 5 being the highest):
- Orange: L5 = 95, L4=85, L3=75, L2=65 & L1=59. (Yes, if a students gets a perfect score, their exam grade is a 95.)
- Escambia: L5 = 95, L4=85, L3=75, L2=65 & L1=59
- Lee: L5 = 99, L4 = 89, L3 = 79, L2 = 69, L1 = 59
- Monroe: L5 = 100, L4=95, L3=89, L2=59 & L1=55
- Polk: L5 = 100, L4=89, L3=79, L2=69 & L1=59
Hernando County determines grade based on the scaled score (not the level score):
Manatee County, also, bases their scores on the students scaled score but uses a slightly different scale (Algebra 2 was calculated with the same system used for Algebra 1 and Geometry):
Leon County wins for “Most Creative.” They use “quality points” to convert letter grades to numerical figures that they then total to determine GPA:
It is clear that students from different counties could have identical performance in the classroom and identical EOC scores, yet have varying GPA’s. In other words: in some districts the stakes are even higher for these EOC exams. When students are competing statewide for college admissions, Bright Futures scholarships or any other scholarship, we shouldn’t have such a discrepancy.
This is high stakes testing accountabaloney at its finest and is not fair to Florida’s public school students.