Saturday, January 30, 2016

Assigning Letter Grades to Schools? The Danger of a Single Performance Indicator – The Progressive Educator

Assigning Letter Grades to Schools? The Danger of a Single Performance Indicator – The Progressive Educator:

Assigning Letter Grades to Schools? The Danger of a Single Performance Indicator

Grades


We recently published a commentary in Teachers College Record that revisits aGrades topic we took up in 2014 – the decision by the Arkansas legislature to require the “grading” of schools.   You can read the first portion of the commentary below and finish it up on the Teachers College Record website.  Free access is available for a limited time.
Assigning Letter Grades to Schools?  The Danger of a Single Performance Indicator
Sixteen states require their Departments of Education to assign a single performance indicator such as a “letter grade” to schools within those states. We take a look at the relationship between school grades and poverty in one of these states. Our analysis indicates that there is a moderate negative correlation between poverty and school performance indicators. We discuss the implications for communities and structural poverty and make a plea to reconsider the manner in which single performance indicators are determined. 
In 2013, the Arkansas legislature passed two pieces of legislation requiring the state Department of Education to assign a single indicator of performance to schools in the form of an A through F letter grade. This decision was met with consternation by those who argued that the system represented an unfair oversimplification of the process of schooling. Christian Z. Goering, Associate Professor of English Education at the University of Arkansas wrote,

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