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School Grading Systems

"Making Sure All Children Matter: Getting School Accountability Signals Right"

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Do the new "A through F" and similar accountability systems states designed under the Obama administration's No Child Left Behind Act waivers do a good job of recognizing how schools are doing when it comes to educating poor and minority students?

Not so much, according to a report released last week by the Education Trust, a Washington organization that advocates for such students. The Education Trust took a look at the A-F-type systems in three states—Florida, Kentucky, and Minnesota. It found that in all three cases, school ratings are "not a powerful signal of the performance of every individual group of kids."

For instance:

• In Florida, which rates schools on an A-F scale, the average proficiency rate for African-American students in "A" schools is lower than for white students in "C" schools.

• Similarly, Kentucky puts schools in one of three baskets: "distinguished," "proficient," and "needs improvement." African-American students in Kentucky schools earning "distinguished" ratings have a lower math proficiency rate than white students in schools deemed as "needs improvement."

• And in Minnesota, schools designated "celebration eligible" or "reward" schools did about as well in math results for African-American students as schools singled out for improvement did on results for white students.

Vol. 34, Issue 08, Page 5

Published in Print: October 15, 2014, as School Grading Systems
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