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New school report cards will be issued on Thursday but no Utah public schools will receive letter grades. Instead, schools will be rated as exemplary, commendable, typical, developing or those with critical needs.

SALT LAKE CITY — New school report cards will be issued on Thursday, but this year, no Utah public schools will receive letter grades. Instead, schools will be rated as exemplary, commendable, typical, developing or those with critical needs.

The new reports, which are expected to be available at the Utah State Board of Education's Data Gateway on Thursday morning, have been designed as dashboards that gauge schools' student achievement and growth.

Report cards for schools that serve students grades three through eight will have data that reflect a school's proficiency in English/language arts, math and science, as well as data on its academic growth in the subject areas.

The reports also will reflect growth of academic performance of students in the lower quartile of academic achievement and the progress of English language learners.

High school report cards will also include indicators of students' readiness for college or other postsecondary education, school graduation rates, ACT test scores and numbers of students who take advanced courses.

Awarding schools letter grades had become increasingly controversial amid complaints letter grades were misleading or failed to provide a complete picture of schools that have lifted the performance of at-risk students.

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For this year only, the state has suspended awarding letter grades as Utah public schools transition to new statewide assessments.

Last year, Utah State Board of Education selected Minneapolis-based Questar Assessment Inc. as the state's new testing provider for grades three through eight. Formerly, the state used the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence or SAGE.

High school SAGE assessments have been replaced with ACT brand tests, which officials say should result in higher rates of participation because more students will care about the results.