Comments about ‘Report cards released for Utah schools; 56 percent earn either A or B grades’

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Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Reasonable Person
Layton, UT

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Only ONE school in the Ogden or Weber school districts rated an A.

Da Vinci Academy, one of the "oh so better" charter schoos, rated a D.
,

JMHO
Southern, UT

The problem is how the data is used to determine the grade. For example, in the growth area, schools score higher by moving a failing student to minimally passing than they do for having a student who scored the highest stay the highest. Eventually, every school will earn a low growth grade...especially if they get all of their students up to the highest level. It also begs the question...what does an A mean? What does a D mean?

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

Obtaining 80% or more of the available points earns an A. Where else in education would 80% be considered achieving? When a student scores consistently at or below 80% at our school we start giving that student extra support and accomodations. Anything below that mark is not adequate progress for a typical student. The ranges should have been 90-100 A, 80-89 B, 70-79 C, 55-69 D and below 54 F.

The developed grading system is subtantially flawed. Half the points assigned were "progress points." Like NCLB, schools that perform poorly one year should be able to show improvement the next year. Higher performing schools are at a disadvantage. If they perform consistently high, they cannot make the wide-scale progress to earn the needed points for the higher grades.

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

Steven S. Jarvis,

"Higher performing schools are at a disadvantage."

Then please explain how Davis High School, traditionally one of the best high schools in the state, earned an "A?" Answer: That school's faculty saw what was coming and met the criteria.

Some public schools have been able to hide behind a veil of opinion. Data strips it all away. Granted, there are different ways of reporting that data and I have plenty of concerns with this system, but the public should have accountability from the schools that they support with their tax dollars.

Daniel Leifker
San Francisco, CA

Very cool. I wish more things in government were publicly graded, such as post offices, TSA checkpoints in airports, passport offices, state DMV offices, and all elected officials.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Only 14% of our schools earned a D or an F while over 50% earned an A or a B? Sounds like the grades our public schools give our kids...everyone passes.

Back in the day, my stepbrother spent too much time goofing off in class and ditching school his sophomore year - he got two F's and they made him repeat the grade. That humbled him up real quick and he was a model student after that. Today they would just give him C's and move him onto the next grade.

azamatbagatov
Lehi, UT

Sir Robin, Only if Mommy and Daddy complained. Those are the students that get passing grades like that, just so the parents will shut up.

PGVikingDad
Pleasant Grove, UT

Oatmeal, the trick Davis employed works exactly once. From this point on, they are at a serious disadvantage, as Steven mentioned.

janeutah
OGDEN, UT

Lets see what Idaho scores are. I can bet that most States that have the funds of the lottery going to support their school systems, get much better grades. We have more children in this State than most, yet we cannot pass one simple law that would help with funds for our school systems by allowing us to play the lottery and give the money TO OUR STATE rather than giving our money to the Idaho School system. It just baffles me how Utah cannot keep Sate and religion seperate!!!!

Seek to understand
Sandy, UT

Steven is right: Because the high performing schools (over 90% proficiency) would have received a "B" grade depending upon what their scores were last year, they had to expand the "A" grades to the wide 80-100% range. It would be better if they would figure out how to scale the growth points depending upon the proficiency points so high performing schools are not penalized.

For example if a school scores at 96% proficient that school should clearly get an "A", but the problem is, if the next year they "only" score at 91% proficiency, their growth score will bring them down out of the "A" category because the growth is weighted EQUAL to proficiency. There needs to be a formula where the growth scores diminish in proportion to higher the proficiency scores.

This is a start. Let's hope they can tweak until it really makes sense and gives the public information that is really clear and helpful.

Instereo
Eureka, UT

One of the big flaws with the school grading system is they used a bell curve. In other words there are going to be some schools getting an A and others getting an F based on criteria set which does not necessarily represent what a school does or what it has to deal with.

I think what if we graded pilots of jetliners the same way with some getting A's and some getting F's. Would that be an accurate description of what skill level they have. Not really, because they have the skill to be competent in taking off, flying, and landing which is all I worry about when I'm flying somewhere. Sure there would be a bell curve of the best to the worst pilots but it really wouldn't tell me anything except to get me worked up if I knew I was flying with a pilot who got an F.

Now if only the state would help fund a little more the schools that scored a D or an F instead of punishing them.

Allen#2
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Grades for schools is just another step to justify charter schools and eliminate public schools.

When will we get the opportunity to give grades to our Utah legislators?

Oatmeal
Woods Cross, UT

PGVikingDad:
But that disadvantage did not exist this year unless the administration and faculty ignored this evaluation system as it developed. That is poor educational leadership and the parents should be furious. All schools can improve at this point.

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

@Oatmeal

Davis is a fantastic school that scored 82% according to the criteria, good enough to make the cut for an A grade. The school had so many kids proficient THIS year that next year they are going to have a harder time earning the points on school improvement for non-proficient students.

Davis still had 32% (roughly one out of every three students) of its entire student body who failed to pass the grade level mathematics test and one out of every five students failed the science achievement test. If one third of your graduates can't do grade level math are you really an A school?

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

I do consider Davis as one of the top High Schools in the State. I wouldn't mind having my kids go there. Davis had the highest pass rate for Math proficiency I have found so far looking through the data. Several I have looked at were below 20% including my High School Bingham at 17%. My point is politicians can bend the data to make any school look bad. Some schools had F's based on having fewer than 95% take the tests.

The criteria for writing proficiency was supposed to be included but that meant schools were going to score much lower than they did. In the end writing proficiency was dropped.

The school I work at is a K-9 Charter. It was a shame the writing test results were eliminated. Our school had an aberrational year. 5th grade scored in at 96% and 8th grade 91% mastery. We scored very 85% for language arts (a drop from last year), 81% math (a drop) and 78% for science (increase). Our school had fantastic results for proficiency, but was heavily effected on the improvement scores. Our overall score was 71%.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Basing any grade on just three tests (language, science and math) is ridiculous in the first place so these grades are bogus. There is a lot more to goes into a school than just test scores. I think West HS churned out more National Merit Scholars than any school and does so about every year and it just received a F grade. I think schools should be evaluated on a lot of factors such as parental involvement, scholarship money earned, extracurricular activities, program choices, test scores (I suppose), teacher satisfaction, parental satisfaction, and (dare I say it) student satisfaction.

BTW--I give our legislature a F-.

BU52
Provo, ut

Looks like grad inflation has hit in the first year. Silly system that has very little meaning to what's actually going on in the schools.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

@Instereo

"One of the big flaws with the school grading system is they used a bell curve."

Methinks you don't understand what a bell curve is. A bell curve is a perfectly normal distribution - for every A there is an F, for every B there is a D, and the mean and median are a C. The grading scheme here (where over half the "class" got A's and B's) is pretty much the exact opposite of a bell curve.

The.Canuck
Tooele, UT

As taxpaying parent with a small choice of schools out here in Tooele I love seeing how the schools actually compare with each other.

Thank you for making this information public.

And yes, out here in Tooele County our charter school is Excellent!

Thank you Excelsior Academy for all your hard work!

Please fund fully the charter schools that are performing.

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