State Department of Education releases A through F grades for Oklahoma schools at special meeting

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Department of Education released school and district report cards at a special meeting this afternoon.

The report cards are part of the state's new A through F grading system, adopted by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2011.

FIND EACH SCHOOL'S SCORES (http://bit.ly/16GUOW8)

According to its supporters, the grading system is designed to give communities, specifically parents, clear and concise information about how their children's schools are performing academically.

But the A through F grading system has come under enormous criticism from superintendents across the state. They believe the system is flawed.

Some school districts, including Tulsa Public Schools, were given access to their grades ahead of Wednesday's meeting.

RELATED: State gives TPS 36 failing grades (http://bit.ly/HuPOKy)

Most Tulsa schools received low grades. Thirty-six schools received an F, while 17 others received a D. Four schools received a C, 10 others received a B and seven schools received an A.

TPS Superintendent Keith Ballard held a press conference Tuesday, where he reiterated his criticism of the grading system.

"It's a meaningless and inaccurate formula," said Ballard. "These grades are inconsequential. We're working to do our best."

Overall, Tulsa Public Schools received an F as a district.

Even though all schools in the Jenks school district received A's or B's, the district's assistant superintendent, Lisa Muller, agreed the A-F grading system is flawed because of the way grades are calculated.

"These particular grades and they way they're derived, we don't have confidence that they are a valid or reliable measure," said Muller.

Muller pointed to research done at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma.

The researchers said the A-F grading system is based on unreliable and undocumented scores and erroneous school performance indicators.

But State Superintendent Janet Barresi said critics of the grading system are playing politics.

"This isn't about adults and how adults feel," said Barresi. "This is about students. This about students and their ability to be able to reach the promise of Oklahoma."

Wednesday's release somewhat reflected the disappointing grades received by TPS schools. While 20 percent of schools were awarded an A, a combined 24 percent of state schools were given Ds and Fs -- that's nearly three times as many D and F schools than last year.

Statewide, the grade totals are as follows:

354 As
499 Bs
472 Cs
263 Ds
163 Fs

Barresi said she expected a dip in school GPA, pointing to a new state law changing the A through F calculations.

"Our teachers do not know less than they did, and teachers are not doing a poor job. Far from it," she said Wednesday. "Classroom teachers are working hard, responding to more rigorous standards that will help children be prepared for successful and happy lives." 

According to the state department of education, the A through F grading formula calculates student performance with student growth in core subjects, such as reading, math, science and writing.

The formula is weighted as follows:

Student Performance 50%
-- Student Performance consists of student assessment scores from the summer and winter/trimester 2012 testing window as well as the spring 2013 testing windows. (The calculations did not count scores of below proficiency that occurred during a disruption in spring testing.) Ten or more student test scores were needed to qualify for a grade.

Student Growth 50%
-- Student Growth compares current student test scores to those of the prior year. Only students with previous exam scores were included in the formula. Students received one growth point if they met one of the following criteria: An increase in proficiency level from one year to the next; maintaining a proficient or advanced level for both years; or meeting or exceeding the Oklahoma Performance Index score from one year to the next. (The index score is derived from averaging scores of all students who demonstrated positive growth for the year.)

-- Student growth is divided into two parts, each of which equals 25 percent of the grade: Overall student growth and the growth among the lowest-performing 25 percentile of students.
Schools also can earn up to 10 bonus points, depending

MORE ON THE FORMULA (http://bit.ly/17NuREY)  FAQS: A through F grading ( http://bit.ly/18ZCILL)

 

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