Nearly half of Florida high schools -- 48 percent -- earned an A grade on the state's report card, according to a report Florida Department of Education released Wednesday.
That's up from 31 percent of high schools earning a top grade two years ago. More than 80 percent of Florida high schools earned an A or B grade. No Miami-Dade or Broward County schools earned Fs.
That performance triggers automatic changes to the school-grading system next year, raising the number of points required to earn each grade. This is the first time the 2011 State Board of Education rule has been required.
"This is appropriate," education commissioner Pam Stewart said on a conference call with reporters. "We are very proud of the work our high schools have done." The requirement does not change the point scale for elementary and middle school grades.
The number of high schools earning an F grade also increased: to eight from three a year ago. A "safety net" approved by the State Board of Education prevented seven schools from losing more than a letter grade this year. Two of those schools would have earned an F grade without the safety-net rule.
The high school grades added three new criteria this year: Growth in test scores of the lowest-scoring 25 percent of students at each school; requiring at least 25 percent of students score 3 or higher on the FCAT reading test; and biology end-of-course test results.