Arizona School Board Makes Changes to the A-F Model” by Stacy Winstryg of The Vail Parent Network
Since 2010, Arizona has used an A-F letter grade system to measure school performance. This system was recently updated by the Arizona State School Board. The main purpose of the update was to incentivize schools to do things that are good for students. When the public weighed in on what changes they would like to see, they mentioned things like a greater emphasis on growth and to avoid reliance on a single test score.
Schools will still be graded on an A-F scale. And while the grade is still reliant in part on standardized testing results, the new rubric will take into account things like college and career readiness for high school students. There will be different grading rubrics for K-8 and high school students. Here is how the schools will be graded:
K-8 – 30% for AzMerit scores, 50% on how students improve on AzMerit scores, 10% on how well English-Language Learners (ELL) perform and improve on specialized tests, and 10% based on acceleration and readiness measures.
High School – 30% for AzMerit, 20% on AzMerit improvement, 10% on ELL’s improvement, 20% on college and career readiness indicators, and 20% on graduation rates.
The A-F model is a complicated one, but the major shift for K-8 is to place more emphasis on growth instead of proficiency, and at the high school level to shift from test scores towards college and career readiness. With the changes, not too much emphasis should be placed on the grades that are assigned for the 16/17 school year since the schools didn’t know what they would be rated on until the school year was almost over. Calvin Baker, Vail School District’s Superintendent and a member of the State Board states, “I am most encouraged by the changes at the high school level. Schools will still be held accountable for tests that show how much students are learning. However, they will now also be held accountable for making sure students do specific activities that prepare them for life after high school.”