The Edmond Sun

Local News

November 6, 2013

Edmond Public Schools grade out at A-

EDMOND — The Oklahoma State Department of Education released the 2013 A-F Report Card grades for Edmond Public Schools Wednesday afternoon with 15 of the school district’s 23 schools and the entire district itself receiving an A.

The grades for each school site are as follows: Edmond Public Schools Overall: A-; Angie Debo Elementary School: A-; Centennial Elementary School: A+; Charles Haskell Elementary School: B; Chisholm Elementary School: A; Clegern Elementary School/Clyde Howell Center: A+; Cross Timbers Elementary School: A+; Ida Freeman Elementary School: C; John Ross Elementary School: A-; Northern Hills Elementary School: A-; Orvis Risner Elementary School: B-; Russell Dougherty Elementary School: A+; Sunset Elementary School: C; Washington Irving Elementary School: A-; West Field Elementary School: A+; Will Rogers Elementary School: B; Central Middle School: B; Cheyenne Middle School: A+; Cimarron Middle School: B; Sequoyah Middle School: A; Summit Middle School: B; Edmond Memorial High School: A+; Edmond North High School: A+; Edmond Santa Fe High School: A+.

Frontier Elementary School was not added to this list since it did not open until August of this year.

In a statement made by Edmond Public Schools Wednesday afternoon, it states, “We still believe that there are significant issues with the A-F formula, especially as it relates to the lowest quartile and we will continue to share that message with our stakeholders, legislators and the state department of education.

“However, our focus now that the grades have been released is both on highlighting the significant work done by our teachers, staff and curriculum specialists who helped to ensure as smooth a testing process as possible for our students and utilizing the relevant data that can be gleaned from the report cards to assist us in better serving our students.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin also issued a statement Wednesday.

“The grades issued today, as expected, paint a mixed picture,” the statement reads. “The majority of our schools are performing adequately. Many are operating at a very high level, thanks largely to dedicated and skilled teachers.

“Some schools, however, are clearly in need of immediate improvement. The superintendents and teachers of schools receiving a D or an F must remember: a bad grade is not a punishment; it is a call to action. Parents should also understand that we are absolutely committed to helping these schools succeed.”

“Oklahoma has great teachers,” it reads. “We have a supportive community of parents who want to play an active role in their child’s education. And we have state resources committed to delivering assistance as we work to move these schools in the right direction. Working together, we will succeed in better preparing our kids for college and the workforce. Nothing is more important for our children or for Oklahoma’s sustained prosperity.”

Dr. Robert Sommers, Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce, said in a statement that when he served as the superintendent of Butler Technology and Career Development Schools in Ohio, the district was ranked 42nd of Ohio’s 49 tech centers in the state, but after hard work, the district was eventually ranked first in student performance for three years in a row.

“We didn’t see the data as a negative,” Sommers said in the statement. “We saw it as an opportunity to measure success. Most importantly, we saw it as a motivator for change and improvement. The A-F grading system in Oklahoma offers the same opportunity today. Reporting school performance in a transparent and understandable way is a valuable tool for educational improvement. Educators who embrace this information and engage their students, parents and faculty in maintaining high performance or improving low performance are best serving Oklahoma’s children.”

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Education Web site, the “A-F Report Card grades are calculated using the following four categories:

• 33 percent of a school’s grade will be based on student achievement on state exams.

• 33 percent of the grade will be based on whole school performance factors, such as student attendance rates, dropout rates, graduation rates, advanced course participation and performance. Bonus factors are school climate surveys and parent and community involvement.

• 17 percent of the grade is overall student growth.

• The remaining 17 percent is student growth of the bottom 25 percent of students.

A letter grade is then to be awarded in each of these categories and combined to award an overall letter grade for a school. Districts then receive report cards based on the grades of all school sites in the district.”

The Oklahoma Legislature adopted the A-F Report Card school grading system in 2011.

As reported by The Edmond Sun, superintendents across the state have voiced criticism recently about the state’s grading system, including criticism from Edmond’s superintendent.

As reported Oct. 4, Dr. David Goin, Edmond Public Schools Superintendent, said the grading system has serious technical flaws.

“Our schools are evaluated every day by parents, but ‘the devil is in the details’ of the A-F grading system,” Goin said. “Parents need to be aware of the methods and means of the calculation of the grades.”

As reported by the Tulsa World Sunday, Gov. Fallin’s spokesman, Alex Weintz, made comments regarding educators’ criticism of the A-F Report Card grading system, which some Oklahoma educators took as a threat to halt their criticism of the grading system or school funding would be in jeopardy.

On Tuesday, Weintz issued a statement, in which he said, “Gov. Fallin has not and will not threaten funding for schools based on opposition to the A-F grading system.”

At Monday’s Edmond Board of Education meeting, Tara Fair, Associate Superintendent with Edmond Public Schools, presented the 2012-2013 Oklahoma School Testing Program results for the school district, which is one of the calculations used for the A-F Report Card grading system.

According to Fair’s report, the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests (OCCT), which are given to grades 3-8, were compared for 2012 and 2013.

Math scores in 2013 increased in grades three, four and six, but stayed about the same in grade five. Grades seven and eight saw a slight decrease.

In reading, grades 4-6 saw an increase in scores with eighth grade holding steady. Third and seventh grade saw a slight decrease.

Fifth and eighth grades only took the science portion of the test, which both saw a slight decrease in scores.

Writing scores for fifth and eighth grades are not final at this time. No scores were given for geography and social studies/U.S. history due to field testing new items to align to the new standards.

For the end-of-instruction tests given to high school students, algebra I scores dropped slightly, as did algebra II and geometry scores.

English I and English II scores increased slightly, as well as U.S. history scores.

Biology I scores dramatically decreased from 96 percent in 2012 to 77 percent in 2013, compared to only 52 percent statewide.

As reported by The Edmond Sun in May, CTB/McGraw-Hill — which was chosen by the state — computer programming system interruptions and system crashes occurred during testing this year.

“Glitches caused so many interruptions” in testing, Fair said.

Fair said some students were kicked off in the middle of testing and were able to get back on 20-30 minutes later. But some were not able to get back on to continue the test.

Because of the system problems, Fair said 1,400 students’ tests were invalidated.

Passing rates for advanced placement classes were also announced with a district passing rate of 64 percent for the 2012-2013 school year.

Remediation rates for 2013 have not been released at this time.

Fair reported that 86 percent of students took the ACT last year. The average scores were 23.7 for English, 23.2 for math, 23.9 for reading, 23.5 for science and the composite score average was 23.7.

Precisely 124 students took the SAT and “stayed above average,” Fair said.

Fair said despite so many transitional changes taking place in Oklahoma educationally, such as with the new grading system, she is proud of Edmond’s students, educators and officials.

“Edmond Public Schools continues to move forward,” Fair said. “We are able to remain one of if not the top district in the state. This does not happen by accident. We have dedicated teachers and administrators who are persistent in maintaining our focus which is student learning. It is these dedicated and caring professionals that deserve the recognition for our excellence. We are a united team and we are committed to preparing our students for the future.”

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