The Norman Transcript

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December 20, 2013

Accuracy of school grading questioned

NORMAN — Q: Can you please tell me your opinion of the school grading that is going on in Oklahoma? With all the arguing going on, I’m not sure who is telling the truth or the purpose of this.

— Tom, Oklahoma City

A: As far as our opinions go, we understand the purpose of the public having a right to know the effectiveness of the schools their hard-earned tax dollars are supporting. As far as the way this is being implemented, we question the accuracy. We do not feel this current grading system is a true representation of a particular school’s abilities to teach children.

For example, one of the criteria is the four-year graduation rate. This says that a student should start and end their high school career in four years. While this is ideal, it’s not always possible because of those students who have disabilities and are oftentimes in school until the age of 22.

With the current grading system, this would count against a high school, when in actuality, it has no bearing on the effectiveness of the school. Schools are also graded on the number of students taking a college entrance exam, which is great in theory, but the only numbers that count are those taken on a national test date. Other students may have taken a residual entrance test at a particular college or university, but that doesn’t help the public school’s grade.

We could go on and on with examples for you, but we feel this grading system is not reflective of what is actually going on in our schools and does not help school improvement efforts at all. Remember, you asked for our opinion. We have never been accused of not freely giving our opinions, even if not asked.

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