The Norman Transcript


March 1, 2013

A-F changes up for public comment



The State Department reported Thursday that they had received an estimated 25 comments in the six days since the proposed changes were posted.

Norman Superintendent Joe Siano said that though the changes’ results may be positive, they are ultimately very minor and fail to address a bigger problem.

“I believe the changes are rather minor. Specifically regarding the quartile calculation, that will be a positive change, but more important is a pending response from the state superintendent on the research paper which superintendents across the state have submitted,” Siano said.

The said research — a nationally peer-reviewed collaborative effort between the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Education Policy and Oklahoma State University’s Center for Educational Research and Evaluation — states that more foundational issues than the proposed changes are contributing to the system’s flawed nature.

“All three components (student achievement, student growth and school performance) of the A-F system have statistical limitations that jeopardize their validity, reliability and usefulness,” the report says. “Moreover, combining flawed indicators creates a misleading measure in the form of a single grade for each school.”

In spite of both Siano and the report’s emphasis that change is needed and welcome, both indicate that the proposed system changes will barely address much deeper, more inherent flaws.

“The report states that this is not a system that can be merely tweaked. It has no validity, and tweaking it won’t give it validity,” Siano said. “(Educators) are asking the state department to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate the entire system.”

The full report by the OU/OSU Centers can be viewed through the Cooperative Council Oklahoma School Administration website at under “Current Highlights” on the homepage.

A full narrative of the proposed changes to the A-F Report Card rules as well, as other changes to other rules, can be found by visiting the Oklahoma Register at or by going through the State Department of Education’s website at and clicking on “Proposed Administrative Rules” on the front page.

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