- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Board of Education has restructured how public schools are graded.

Schools will still be rated based on A-F letter grades, but a new set of criteria will be used for both elementary and high schools, The Arizona Republic reported (https://bit.ly/2pwoJkO ) Monday.

Officials hope the new criteria shies away from an over-reliance on student test scores, although grades will still heavily incorporate standardized testing.

At the elementary level, one of the big changes is 10 percent of a school’s overall grade will come from a pool of “acceleration and readiness” measures. This will be partly determined by chronic absenteeism rates and how many third-grade students a school moves out of the lowest performance level, minimally proficient, on the reading portion of AzMERIT tests.

The two areas an elementary school’s grade mostly will come from are standardized test scores, at 30 percent, and individual improvements on those test scores at 50 percent.

At the high school level, there will be a 20 percent focus on “college and career readiness indicators.” Students will be able to get their school points in this category if they meet some of more than a dozen items aimed toward going to college or participating in a vocational program. This includes passing an Advanced Placement test, the ACT or SAT or earning an industry-recognized certificate. High school state grades will have a 30 percent reliance on AzMERIT scores and a 20 percent reliance on how well students improve on the test.

The new grading system will be revisited repeatedly, according to state officials, and aspects of the system could likely be changed.

The board will decide the actual cut scores for each letter grade in the summer.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic, https://www.azcentral.com

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