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Oklahoma policymakers shouldn't retreat from A-F grading system

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: January 22, 2013

Our favorite recommendation was the call for “valid and reliable measures of school climate, motivation and the dispositions of school role groups longitudinally.” Is there really a universally embraced statistical measurement of “motivation”? And how is that a more valid performance indicator than students' academic test results?

Some kernels of wheat may be found among the report's chaff. If so, policymakers should take those critiques under advisement. But it would be a mistake to roll back this important reform and take years to implement a replacement (as endorsed by the report's authors), especially since the report says the state should make “explicit the limitations of the accountability system and warn of its inappropriate use for high-stakes decision making.” In other words, even after changing the system, they think state officials should loudly declare that the resulting school grades shouldn't be taken seriously.

Forsyth said, “Credible assessment is not controversial.” That's naive. The forces of the status quo — including many administrators funding this report — are certain to loudly criticize any system painting their districts in anything but glowing terms.

Professorial hired guns can give critics of the system a veneer of academic respectability. This doesn't mean they're right. A-F is a good reform increasing public awareness.

Policymakers shouldn't back away from it.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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