Only two school districts received F’s under the new grading system launched by lawmakers to inform parents about school and district performance.
Farris Public Schools in Atoka County received an F, despite having attained a score that ordinarily would be a solid B, because the district failed to test at least 90 percent of its students.
Tricia Pemberton, spokeswoman for the Education Department, said failing to test enough students results in an automatic F on the report cards released this week.
“Farris had a number of testing irregularities with their special education students, and we had to invalidate six scores,” Pemberton said.
In the 2011 to 2012 school year, there were 72 students enrolled in the only school in the district — a prekindergarten through eighth-grade facility. Six students would account for 8 percent of the population, meaning only another two or three students had to not be tested to automatically fail.
Still, Farris Elementary School is among those that are considered low-performing by the state and have been put on a list of schools to receive special attention from the Education Department.
“That’s why we found the testing irregularities, because we were there so frequently” Pemberton said.
Superintendent Wes Watson did not return phone calls Friday seeking comment.
The other school district that received an F is Dustin Public Schools in Hughes County.
In fact, the district received zero points on a 4.0 scale.
The district failed in reading and math performance of all students, which accounts for 33 percent of the district grade.
The district also failed in the measurement of how those students are improving on state standardized tests which is 34 percent of the district’s grade.
Finally, for whole school performance, a measure of the district’s graduation rate, advanced coursework and student performance on college entrance exams, among others, the district failed. That accounted for the final 33 percent of the grade.
Pemberton said that Dustin Public Schools and the high school and elementary school in the district are not on any of the state’s other lists of schools that need improvement or special attention.
Dustin Superintendent Joe Cummings also did not respond to phone messages Friday.