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October 8, 2012

Update: New school evaluation grades postponed

State board trumps Education Department plans

NORMAN — The State Department of Education, set to release the controversial letter grades for school evaluation today, announced that the release has been postponed.

State Board of Education members voted unanimously to table the official acceptance of the schools’ “report cards” until the full board meeting Oct. 25, overstepping the state department’s plan.

“The Board voted 6-0 to postpone the release due to the amount of concern expressed by educators across the state, particularly regarding the formula’s measurement of growth in student performance,” said Shelly Hickman, Norman Public Schools community relations coordinator. “The state board wished to review the formula prior to their next meeting to address these concerns.”

The state’s new report card-style evaluation system was approved by the legislature in 2011, and is intended to replace the Academic Performance Index as Oklahoma’s means of tracking school performance and improvement.

It has been met with substantial criticism, with about 150 superintendents throughout Oklahoma expressing “concerns,” according to Norman superintendent Joe Siano.

In spite of the state’s postponement, the Norman Board of Education will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Norman High School Conference Center, to discuss the grades given to Norman schools and take an in-depth look at the formula as it currently stands.

“The board will continue with the meeting as planned so we explain the current formula in detail and give the board and guests the best understanding of the current situation,” Hickman said.

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