Every Student Succeeds Act

Without Legislative Action, Michigan Scraps A-F Grading System

By Daarel Burnette II — July 28, 2017 1 min read

During this past year, with the Every Student Succeeds Act set to go into motion this fall, several state legislatures pushed to rid their states of their letter-grade accountability systems. Now Michigan has decided to drop its A-F system, without any action from state lawmakers.

The state’s department of education told the Michigan Radio last week that since the legislature failed to create a statewide A-F report card, as they had previously said it would do, the department will this fall design a dashboard to present to the public several factors about a school’s performance. Under ESSA, states are still required to identify the worst-performing five percent of schools.

In its ESSA plan, the state told the federal government that it had yet to decide how to present to the public how schools stack up.

Letter grades, several district superintendents have argued, are an over-simplistic way to label schools, are too dependent on test scores, and can lead to faulty assumptions about schools’ stregnths and weaknesses.

This year, several states, including Texas, Alabama and West Virginia, ended up scrapping or making dramatic change to their letter-grade accountability system. Many, like Michigan, opted to instead use a “dashboard approach” that displays several different factors to parents, but without giving schools a final, overall grade.


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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.