Ponca City Public Schools Comments On Grading System

Ponca City Now - November 5, 2013 2:34 pm

Oklahoma is one of the many states that rates school’s performance using a single A – F letter grade.

The grade is given based upon standardized test scores.

School officials around the state are up in arms about the system.

Ponca City Schools superindent, Dr. David Pennington said according to the preliminary grades most schools have dropped letter grades across the state.

Here is a breakdown of the preliminary grades Ponca City schools received for last year.

Lincoln Elementary – F

Liberty Elementary – D

Garfield Elementary – D

Roosevelt Elementary – C

Woodlands Elementary – B

Union Elementary – B

Trout Elementary – A

East Middle School – C

West Middle School -C

Ponca City High School – C

Pennington said almost every school in the district dropped at least a letter grade.

Parents will be seeing grades given for each tested subject.

"One of the most dramatic changes from this year to last year was science," Pennington said. "Where last year all our schools either had a B or an A in the science grade. This year those scores have dropped dramatically. Every elementary school in our district received an F in the science portion of this test. In fact, every school in the district with the exception of the high school received an F in science."

Pennington said they haven’t done anything differently in the classroom.

He said legislature made a purposeful decision to change the cut scores, which lowered grades.

"The only thing I can assume is that it bothered them that we had so many students that were proficient in science," Pennington said. "So a decision was made at the state level to lower our grades and they did that."

Research was done on this grading system by University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

Pennington said these researchers prove the grading system is not a clear or valid method.

"The grades we receive today, while they are the grades and we can’t hide from that, independent researchers have said what school administrators have been saying for three years," Pennington said. "This is not a way you set up an accountability system for schools."

Pennington said the schools grades reflect poverty levels.

Schools with the highest number of students on free reduced lunches dropped two letter grades.

And communities like Tulsa, with high poverty levels scored much lower than suburan areas like Broken Arrow.

Pennington is not aware of any school official in the state who supports this system.

"I guess the analogy I would draw is this, is that the state issues a report on the state of bridges in this state, as taxpayers we expect that report to meet the highest standards of validity and reliabilty, we expect it to be accuarte," Pennington said. "I don’t think we should expect anything less of a system that reports to evaluate our schools. It should meet the highest standards of validity and reliablity, and this particular system does not do that."


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