- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma State Department of Education on Wednesday released A-F report cards for every public school site and district in the state amid opposition from some superintendents and teacher groups who say the way the grades are calculated are faulty.

Here is some background on the grading system:

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Q: What is the A-F grading system?

A: The A-F system is a way to assess the performance of individual schools that was pushed by Republicans, including Gov. Mary Fallin and State Superintendent Janet Barresi, who took office during a GOP sweep of state offices in 2010. The grading scale was hailed as a way to give parents easy-to-understand data about their children’s schools. Proponents of the A-F system said a former scale that relied on a matrix was too complicated for parents to figure out.

Q: How are the letter grades calculated?

A: There are three main components: 50 percent is based on student performance on various tests, 25 percent is based on overall student improvement from the previous year, and 25 percent is from improvement among students who had scored in the bottom 25 percent. Bonus points are awarded for such things as attendance, low dropout rates and having high rates of students taking advanced coursework.

Q: Are test scores from all students included in a school’s letter grade?

A: No. Scores are excluded from students tested a second time and those who did not attend the school for a full academic year.

Q: What’s new about this year’s grading system?

A: This is the first year in which the grade calculations were not changed significantly from the previous year, so it’s more appropriate to compare a school’s 2014 grade with its 2013 grade. Also, this year, fifth-grade tests on social studies and eighth-grade tests in U.S. History will be included; scores on alternative tests known as the Oklahoma Modified Alternative Assessment Program will not be a part of the report card.

Q: Where can I find my school’s letter grade?

A: School and district report cards will be available on the State Department of Education’s website (www.ok.gov/sde/af-grades ).

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Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education

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