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Oklahoma school districts get grade on student performance

The state Education Department announced grades for more than 500 school districts in Oklahoma. The state agency gave A-F grades to more than 1,750 state schools earlier this fall.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: December 5, 2012

Letter grades for more than 500 school districts throughout the state were released Wednesday evening by the state Education Department as part of a new evaluation system that assigns A-F grades to Oklahoma schools and districts.

Education leaders expressed similar concerns about the overall district grades this week as they did earlier this fall when grades were assigned to individual schools.

“When you try to boil everything down to one letter grade, it misses so many of the nuances, both strengthens and weaknesses,” Tulsa Union Superintendent Kathy Burden said.

Tulsa Union received a B, a grade Burden said she is “not dissatisfied with.” While data is helpful to educators and parents, overarching information like a letter grade doesn't give parents the information most are looking for: how their kids are doing in school.

“This is an attempt to try to qualify something that is very, very complicated and has a lot of variables to consider,” Burden said. “Therefore, it tends to generalize about things and may or may not give a proper reflection about an individual family's experience at a school or a school district.”

Twenty-three school districts received A grades: Adair, Amber-Pocasset, Arapaho-Butler, Bethany, Big Pasture, Bishop, Canadian, Central High, Chisholm, Cottonwood, Deer Creek, Edmond, Kingfisher, McCord, Mulhall-Orlando, Newcastle, Pioneer, Plainview, Reydon, Ripley, Robin Hill, Sequoyah and Waynoka.

Two districts get failing grades

Two districts received F grades: Dustin in Hughes County and Farris in Atoka County.

The state's two largest school districts — Oklahoma City and Tulsa — both received D's.

“It is disappointing,” Superintendent Karl Springer said. “ ... No one can be happy with a D. We're not.”

But the grade doesn't reflect progress made in areas like state-mandated end-of-instruction exams for high school students, Springer said. Elementary and middle school students are making progress as well, he said.

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