Grades for Utah schools expected to stir controversy

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  • Homer1 MIDVALE, UT
    Sept. 5, 2013 9:58 p.m.

    This strange bell curve idea just brings home how absurd this grading system is for education. For some reason legislators need to have someone fail. It's like if we were the audience watching the amazing runners at the Olympic marathon finish their race, and then we all stood and pointed fingers of shame at those runners who didn't make it on to the medal stand because, well, they're the "losers". Because we have to have losers and winners so we know who to like. Real educators know and believe that there are no losers in their classrooms, just wildly different and unique individuals who are all running their "race", sometimes, their way, but hopefully towards a finish line. And real educators are at that finish line cheering for each one as they make it across, not the just the perfect few.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 30, 2013 1:50 p.m.

    @Mamma C:

    Schools should be locally run.

    Grading be done by teachers with the use of report cards.

    The results come from students who become adults.

  • Mamma C HEBER CITY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    Schools should not be accountable to bureaucrats and politicians but to local parents and local taxpayers. School grading is intimately connected with Common Core testing; everyone is forced to look through the same narrow window at what is supposedly (defined by whom?) most important.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    I propose that all legislators must have 95% of all votes cast for that office to become a legislator and once in office they must have 95% approval ratiings or they must resign as a failed legislator.

  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    The observation that essentially all Utah students take the ACT test and still have an average score of 21 is far more significant than one sees at first glance. Most states have less than half their students take the ACT. The combination of these two pieces of data suggests that the average Utah student performance is approximately equal to the average performance of the top half of students nationally.

    That is really quite a tribute to the Utah school system, given the ridiculously low level of funding that our legislature provides.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:51 p.m.


    Not all states test ALL their students in the ACT. Utah is one of several states that did so and I think was the top of those. Perhaps the state where you came from only tested those who were college bound, of course the scores would be higher. Still, Utah has some major issues and I agree with some of your assessments. And if things like class size and teacher morale aren't addressed soon, things will get bad in a hurry.

    As for hypocrisy of the letter grade, point sort of taken. However, I doubt most teachers actually grade their students based on one test, unless you would like them too. They would probably look at assignments, participation, quizzes, projects, etc. to determine an overall grade or learning.

    So if I was the educational czar ha ha, I might look at test scores (not much) but also graduation rates, scholarship monies earned by graduates, extracurricular opportunities and success, student reviews of the school, parent reviews of the school, dare I say teacher reviews of the school. Basically a VARIETY of factors, not just one single and probably very faulty assessment.

  • Soccer30 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    ManIn TheMiddle,
    I am a high school teacher in Utah. Where do you get your info from? My students and school are great. Why don't you come visit one of utah's "awful" schools and see for yourself. I just checked the national average for the ACT. It is 21.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Aug. 27, 2013 7:27 p.m.

    Grading schools,-is controlling schools. Deleting creativity.

    Keep it simple!

    Schools are for teaching, and learning. It's our best chance of stopping, and reversing our move into poverty.

  • belgie Tualatin, OR
    Aug. 27, 2013 6:52 p.m.

    "Associate State Superintendent Judy Park ... said there are several metrics that illustrate a school's success or failure that cannot easily be simplified into a single A or F letter grade."

    Now there is irony. Or hypocrisy. Not sure which.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 5:39 p.m.

    "to falsely label schools as failing"
    I don't get this mentality in UT. UT schools are awful. Take it from an North East transplant. AWFUL!!!
    An average ACT of 21 - really??? A 43% dropout rate for HIspanics. Only 32% of 8th graders are proficient readers.
    How many more stats do I need to list. AWFUL!!!!

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 4:38 p.m.

    The grading schools bill SB-271 passed 38-36 in the house and also by a narrow margin in the senate. It's a bill that had flaws from the beginning that never seemed to be fully addressed. One of the big flaws is that schools are put on a bell curve with grades meaning there will a few A's, a few more B's, mostly C's, some D's, and some F's. Even if all schools were excellent and deserved A's, there's no way with the law to show that.

    I think about the unfairness of grading schools when I fly. If pilots were graded on a bell curve, would you want to fly with one who got an F. But if he passed all his flight exams with A's based on specific critera for flying and better yet landing, the F would only mean there were other pilots that may do it a little bit better but he still would do it well enough to be safe. The F would be an injustice to him because it wouldn't represent his skills only his ranking with the best of the best.

  • Physics27 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:44 p.m.

    This is not a bad idea, but the grading rubric that has been implemented is horrible. It is very unscientific. In high school they track student's progress by tracking their test scores from grade to grade. They compare freshman biology to sophomore chemistry and so on. It encourages schools to have their freshmen perform poorly so they can show improvement later on, even if the classes become harder. Many other parts of the system are also flawed.

  • jotab Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:14 p.m.

    This is a setup for the privatizers in the legislature to falsely label schools as failing so they can swoop in and turn the schools over to private management companies.
    Senator Niederhauser says that tweaks need to be made already. Why was a bad law passed in the first place?
    Florida was mentioned. They have changed their formula 30 times. Former Indiana Supt.and now Former Florida Supt. Tony Bennett changed a grade for a charter school for a campaign contributor.
    This is a bad law and everyone needs to contact their legislators to get it repealed.