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New system to grade Arizona schools' performances

Posted at 3:10 PM, Apr 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-25 20:37:41-04

The Arizona State Board of Education voted 7-2 to bring back the “A-F School Letter Grade Accountability” system.

The system will be used to determine a public schools' performance.

The board released several proposals in early February allowing residents to weigh in during several public meetings, held up until late March.

According to Stefan Swiat, a spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Education, board members approved going forward allowing the AzMERIT testing to play a part in determining letter grades.

Swait said, schools receiving an “A” grade will need to show growth in the AzMERIT testing program.

“If a school gets a low grade it can be a number of things, low growth, low proficiency, and low test scores will also play a part," said Swait.

Board members reinstalled an accountability system for the first time in a couple of years.

“A significant move for the education community to reinstall some sort of system that has been absent for the last two years," said Swait.

"We've taken the first step, but we have a ways to go yet to get it where it really needs to be for our student,s for our parents and for our teachers," Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. 

"We think a test that should be used to determine if a child has the knowledge and skills they need to be successful is also valid to evaluate a teacher, a school and give a school a letter grade," Douglas added. "That's not the appropriate use of that test in my opinion."

What makes the new grading different from that used two years ago is the use of the AzMERIT testing over AIMS testing, along with a new rubric board members voted in.

We will have more on how that rubric breaks down once it's released by the department of education.