Editorial: Barresi's school grading system gets an 'F'
BY World's Editorials Writers
Friday, January 18, 2013
1/18/13 at 7:01 AM
State Superintendent Janet Barresi's school grading system got another bad grade this week.
The A-F report card system for state schools has stirred controversy since "grades" were first released last fall. More than 300 school superintendents across the state, including Tulsa's Keith Ballard, protested the system as unclear and unfair. Those same superintendents were not opposed to public scrutiny of their schools but pointed out the unfairness of a system approved by the Legislature and implemented by Barresi.
The report came from three senior research scientists and four research associates at the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy at the University of Oklahoma and two senior research scientists at Oklahoma State University's Center for Educational Research and Evaluation. It was commissioned by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the Cooperative Council for School Administrators.
The report found: "Despite good intentions, the features of the Oklahoma A-F grading system produce school letter grades that are neither clear, nor comparable; their lack of clarity makes unjustified decisions about schools. Building on what has already been done, Oklahoma can and should move toward a more trustworthy and fair assessment system for holding schools accountable and embracing continuous, incremental improvement."
The school report cards measure student achievement, student growth and whole school performance. One of the problems is that those grades are combined for one overall school grade, rendering the grade all but useless.
The report suggested that each indicator be graded separately and those scores be reported, much like a student's report card.
Proponents of the A-F system might dismiss this study as biased, as it was commissioned by school boards and school administrators. That doesn't change the facts. Barresi's grading system is flawed, and her motives are suspect.
Schools need to be held accountable, but there must be a better way.
Original Print Headline: 'F'