January 17, 2013
For Immediate Release
First and foremost, the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration embrace the accountability requirements and expectations set forth by the Governor of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Legislature, State Department of Education, and the citizens of Oklahoma. We support an accountability system that will provide valid, reliable and useful information to parents and taxpayers in our communities regarding the quality of their schools. After much discussion and debate over the past year concerning the A-F grading system the Oklahoma State School Boards Association and the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration sought clarification on the validity, reliability, and usefulness of the current grading system.
Our two organizations commissioned the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University to review and evaluate the current A-F School Grading System. The researchers reviewed the three components of the school grading system: Student Achievement, Student Growth, and Whole School Performance. These components are the pillars of the A-F Grading System. What the researchers found was that statistically, the current system does not provide reliable, valid, or useful data to parents and community members regarding school performance.
From the outset of the State Board of Education voting to create this current system, it was recognized by members of the State Board of Education that this system was not perfect. Board Member Amy Ford was quoted as saying, “The A-F system is it perfect, probably not. Will it ever be perfect, probably not.” Board Member General Lee Baxter, "This A-F system, I’m sorry to say, is not perfect… But we are going to commit, to the extent we can, to work to make it better." In addition, State Board Member Bill Price commented, "Is it (A-F) perfect? Who knows? I heard “simple but accurate.” Let me just tell you this, the simpler you are the less accurate you are. In any system, when you try to be fair you create complexity. Maybe we tried to be fair too much and created too much complexity." Comments such as these have been heard in schools and school board meetings alike. Therefore, as membership organizations representing school boards and school administrators, OSSBA and CCOSA deemed it necessary to commission nationally regarded experts to review the grading system and make recommendations for improvement. Ultimately we reached out to both of our state’s research institutions to assist us in this endeavor.
Our ultimate goal is to work with all state officials, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma to develop a system of evaluating student growth and schools in a fair and meaningful manner. We hold true to our earlier comment , we support an accountability system that is not only transparent and easily understood, but also one that is valid, reliable, and useful. Our two organizations are committed to assisting in making our accountability system a national model that other states may one day utilize.
Commissioned by OSSBA and CCOSA
A report produced by staff of
The Oklahoma Center for Education Policy (University of Oklahoma) and
The Center for Educational Research and Evaluation (Oklahoma State University)
© The University of Oklahoma & Oklahoma State University
Click Here for the A-F Report in pdf format
Click Here for the News Release in pdf format