Schools Get Taste of Own Medicine - WSJ.com
: "Schools long have graded students. Now they are being graded themselves, as a growing number of states assign them A-to-F scores to evaluate their performance. The results can be surprising. Eliot Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla., has been well-regarded by parents for years, in part for its high scores on state achievement exams. The school draws young families moving into the historic Brookside neighborhood that surrounds it. So parents and administrators were stunned when a new state report card last autumn gave Eliot a "C" on an A-to-F scale. Stephanie Coates, a mother of two Eliot students, called the ranking an "unpleasant surprise" and said she isn't convinced the state "assessed what's going on with Eliot very well." In the past two years, at least 10 states, from Arizona to North Carolina, began handing out letter grades to schools and, in some cases, districts. Modeled after an accountability program pioneered in Florida by then-Gov. Jeb Bush in the late 1990s, these systems gather reams of data, feed the numbers into complicated formulas and spit out letter grades. The formulas typically take into account test scores, graduation rates, attendance and progress among the lowest-achieving students."
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