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Statement from Supt. Dr. Joe Siano on state's 2013 A-F grades

11-06-2013 at 02:10 pm
Norman Public Schools is disappointed the State Board of Education continues to endorse a formula for grading Oklahoma schools that researchers at the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Southern California have found to be an invalid and extremely flawed measure of school performance.

We know, and are confident the Norman community knows, that the state’s school grading system in its current form is not reflective of our teachers’ and principals’ efforts and the academic growth of our students. We may have students who begin their K12 education in our elementary schools with achievement gaps. Yet, by the time they matriculate through NPS, they attend high schools ranked in the top 5 percent in the country and with world-class opportunities. That doesn’t happen unless ALL of our schools, NPS faculty and leadership are giving ‘A’ dedication to the education of ALL students.

 

Moreover, NPS schools that received ‘Cs’ last year but which were graded ‘D’ this year by the SDE should be commended, rather than criticized, as all made impressive academic gains in both reading and math, yet received lower marks from the state. Pass rates in these schools climbed by as much as 12 percent from 2012 to 2013!



The reality is that a school grading system that renders nine different grades for our schools in two weeks, that isn’t reflective of the work ongoing in our schools, and that takes a manual to explain to our community isn’t credible or valuable to school improvement efforts.

 

We hope our state leaders will meaningfully reflect on the many and significant failures of this past spring’s state testing (which include NPS still not receiving accurate student scores to distribute to our parents); the eight failed attempts by the State Department of Education to calculate grades using its own formula; and the state ignoring the quality and independent research that has been conducted by four research universities on the unreliability and arbitrariness of these grades. We urge them to work with school, business and community leaders to develop a school accountability system for Oklahoma that has true value. NPS embraces school accountability, which by virtue and definition should truly reflect student growth and teacher effectiveness.

 


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