- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - School districts in Edmond, Moore and Norman outperformed others in the Oklahoma City area on the latest A-F report cards.

Statistics released by the state Education Department indicate all 23 schools in the Edmond district received a grade of A or B, while 74 percent of Moore district schools and 55 percent of Norman district schools scored A’s or B’s. The three districts had no F schools and five D schools.

But despite the high marks, some administrators say the grade cards don’t paint a complete picture of their schools because they are based on state-mandated standardized test scores and little else, The Oklahoman reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1qX4zuA).

“I’m not a fan just because I think it’s an oversimplification of school performance,” said Rick Cobb, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Moore Public Schools. “I’m glad we do well on tests, but the state tests only measure a portion of the curriculum, and knowing that really narrows instruction sometimes.”

Cobb said the grades don’t measure district offerings such as art programs, science fairs or extracurricular activities and don’t take into account increased enrollment or “the strength of our community after everything we’ve been through.”

“Those things matter just as much to the community as the things that are on the state test, probably more,” he said.

Norman Public Schools Superintendent Joe Siano said he has “no confidence” in the validity of the A-F grading system used by the Education Department.

In a written statement, Siano said the agency has used three different calculation methods in as many years and the way students, groups and scores are weighted and manipulated has not led to valid conclusions.

Statewide, 16 percent of schools received A grades; 26 percent received a B; 28 percent got a C; 17 percent a D; and 11 percent received an F. Two percent of schools did not receive a letter grade.

The A-F system 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 system said a former scale that relied on a matrix was too complicated for parents to figure out.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com


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