TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The number of top rated high schools in Florida is dropping.

Grades released Thursday by the Florida Department of Education showed that the number of A-graded schools dropped from 49 percent last year to 36 percent this year.

The number of schools given a B did edge up slightly from 33 percent to 35 percent.

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said a key reason for the drop in A-rated schools was that the grading formula was changed to make it harder to earn a top grade.

Elementary and middle school grades were announced last summer.

The department tried to downplay the drop in the number of A-rated schools in its official release. Instead the department highlighted that the state’s overall high school graduation rate edged up slightly this year.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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