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King Concerned About School Letter Grade Criteria Revealed

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
King Concerned About School Letter Grade Criteria Revealed

The state has revealed the criteria it will use to assign schools letter grades, but Putnam County’s Director of Schools said the reveal came with more concerns.

The state will grade schools annually based on four separate indicators: overall success rate for achievement, overall growth, growth for the lowest-performing 25 percent of students and a college or career readiness indicator. Director Corby King said the earlier concerns about the types of indicators have been replaced by worries about the emphasis.

“This formula does put a much heavier weight on student achievement than growth,” King said. “There’s a lot of concerns around that. Achievement is the measurement of one day, one point in time, how a student did on that one singular test.”

King said schools will see their first official grades within the next week. There will be an embargo period where the grade will not be made public until school systems have a chance to check numbers for accuracy and appeal grades. King said the grades will be made public some time in December.

“What we try to equate this to when you boil down a letter grade, everybody is like well I know what an A is,I know what a B is or a C is,” King said. “Well we might, but that’s when you have in class with your students or as a parent when my kids bring home their grades, it’s a measure of the work their doing there’s not all these external factors that are a part of this model. So trying to equate a letter grade to something that’s so complicated can send some poor messages about things that are just not accurate.”

King has said in the past this whole process has seemed rushed, and his mind has not changed.

“I think that there are a lot of concerns still,” King said. “This was very rushed moving from what we had previously, what was passed in 2016 to the model we are going to put into place going to be released here with in the next month or so. We just don’t know really what to say yet until we see how it impacts our schools.”

The grading system was suppose to be rolled out in the 2018-19 school year. Testing issues and COVID-19 delayed the roll out until now. The state has made a big push to get the letter grading system rolled out this year.

“The state’s a lot more excited about it than I think we are in the local districts,” King said. “Maybe we’ll gain some excitement when we understand the process a little better and the impact.”


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