Gov. Mary Fallin signs rules implementing A-F grading system for public schools

An Oklahoma legislative committee started the process to disapprove the rules. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate would have to disapprove a measure to scuttle the A-F grading system rules.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 3, 2012
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• 33 percent on student assessment test scores

• 17 percent on annual student improvement gains on tests

• 17 percent on annual gains for students in the lower 25 percent

• 33 percent on whole schoolimprovement

The whole school improvement factor includes graduation rates, ACT test scores and attendance rates.

“This is not a good plan, and it needs to be reworked to more closely reflect the intent of the law,” Shelton said.

Shelton said the rules provide a misleading and confusing grading system. For example, the rules assign an A for scores of 93.7 or higher instead of the usual 90 to 100 percent range.

“If a parent sees that their local school received a grade of B, what they don't see is that that school may have an actual performance score of 93.5 percent,” Shelton said.

“That is an A to everybody but the Department of Education, apparently.”

Shelton said the rules are hard to understand and follow.

Districts say they weren't consulted

Oklahoma City School Board Chairman Angela Monson said her school district, the largest in the state, was not asked to make comments on the rules until the state Education Department held its first public hearing in March after the rules were written.

“You would think if you want to involve the stakeholders you would do that before you write things,” she said. “Our engagement only came really during the first public hearing when the Board of Education met to discuss the rules.

“They may have talked to some people; they did not talk to us. They did not talk to Tulsa.”

Maridyth McBee, assistant state superintendent of accountability and assessment, said Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as medium-size urban districts and rural districts, were represented in early discussions about the rules.

“Not everyone at the districts apparently remembers or knows, but we do,” she said.

Shelton, who voted against HB 1456, said Wednesday he still disagrees with it, saying it gives too much power to the state schools superintendent and allows for too little feedback from parents in the school districts.

Four school superintendents complained to committee members that they weren't given an opportunity to voice their opposition to the proposed rules or that their suggestions weren't followed.

McBee said public school officials were given a chance to review the rules before public hearings were held on them earlier this year.

Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, author of HB 1456, said her intent was get information about public schools out to parents and residents. In a letter sent to members of the House Rules and Government Oversight Committee, she suggested it might be best to test the grading system for a year so school officials and those in the community would have a chance to better understand it.

“I would really like to see the first-year implementation as one that would let schools know where they stand as opposed to a punitive scoring,” she wrote. “Sort of a trial run or pilot year so schools can get the kinks out of the system and also to learn of their problem areas so those can be worked on and resolved.”



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