, Muskogee, OK


October 30, 2013

Give state grade system time to work

State Rep. Jerry McPeak said the system by which the state grades schools is “flawed beyond making whole.”

While we won’t go that far, we agree it is vexing.

Area educators are frustrated with the system.

But we understand the appeal of having a simplistic, easy-to-identify grading system for our schools. The A-F system is something everyone who has a child in school can understand.

What we don’t understand is how the grades given can be so flawed.

This is akin to a teacher giving a student a “D” grade when the student made a “B.” It just doesn’t make any sense.

State Superintendent for Public Instruction Janet Barresi issued a written apology for the “delay and confusion.” She said the wrong grades were left up after they were discovered to “ensure transparency in the process.”

We agree with this move.

McPeak cited a study critical of the A-F system. The study was issued by the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Education Policy and Oklahoma State University’s Center for Educational Research and Evaluation.

Their report found:

• Very small differences predicted by letter grade.

• Errors in classification.

• Letter grades hide low test performance of poor and minority children.

Barresi doesn’t agree with those findings or criticism of the system.

While this year’s school grades were flawed and inconsistent, we say give the system another year before deciding whether to scrap it.

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