Changes made to A-F school grading system

By Kathleen Guill -

Oklahoma adopted the A-F grading system for schools in 2011.

The purpose for this scale was to provide incentives to schools to challenge all students to reach high levels of college and career readiness. The A-F report cards make school performance clear in a transparent manner easily communicated to the public, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Changes to the grading system were proposed in December 2016 by state Rep. Michael Rogers (R-Broken Arrow) and state Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa). House Joint Resolution 1028 passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 23 and the Senate on March 2 before being signed into law by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin on March 8.

According to the State Department of Education website, some of the new mandates include assigning students to only one demographic category for purposes of accountability; ordering categories by statistical relationship with achievement — economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, English learners, black, Hispanic, Native American, other — each student will only count once per school for accountability purposes, but the scores will be reported in every category he or she represents.

Other changes include combining status with gap closures and goals increasing by 6-13 points each year, depending on the group, increasing more for lower performing groups to narrow the achievement gap. Goals increase by two to five points each year, increasing more for lower performing groups.

New baselines will be determined after students take new assessments in 2017. Calculations will be reviewed to validly reflect growth and other data.

Fallin said that she was happy to sign this resolution.

“As one more action in the many pro-education steps my administration has taken, I am delighted to sign House Joint Resolution 1028 by Representative Michael Rogers and Senator Gary Stanislawski,” Fallin said. “The HJR accepts in whole the Assessment and Accountability Report prepared by the State Department of Education and approved by the State Board of Education. The Assessment and Accountability Report is the culmination of a lot of work by a task force of school leaders and education stakeholders.”

“The report will provide recommendations for new future-ready assessments for grades 3-8 and for high school assessments, as well as an enhanced A-F Accountability System,” Fallin said. “I appreciate the efforts of numerous Oklahomans who developed the report, as well as the Republican leadership in the House and Senate who worked diligently to approve the measure within the first 30 days of the legislative session.”

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By Kathleen Guill

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.

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