Schools to get report cards like students

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma schools will soon be getting a report card for the first time, much like the one students receive with a grade ranging from A to F.

The new grading system was adopted by the state legislature last year.

Thursday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi announced schools are now receiving the data used in calculating their grades, which will be officially released to the public in October.

One student's grandmother, Maxine Sproat, said the grading system simplifies a school's performance.

"We go by A, B, C, so I think that would be good because you're telling us what they do in math, what they do in all the different subjects and if the school is good and if it's not good," she said.

Oklahoma's State Department of Education released simulated A-F report cards to the media Thursday afternoon.

They break down students' grades in language arts, math, science, etc.

But that student achievement counts for only a third of a school or district's overall grade.

Another third judges overall student growth and the bottom 25-percent growth.

The final third is based on the whole school performance.

"Being able to release these report cards is one more step along the way towards raising the grade together," Barresi said.

She said the grading system also rewards more parent involvement in schools.

"Every time a young person has an adult that is focused on them and their own personal welfare, you can see over and over again the benefits of that," she said.

Teachers hope the grading system will be fair, especially toward schools that struggle to attract highly-qualified teachers in underprivileged neighborhoods.

"Because a lot of the teachers will come and not want to teach in an inner-city school or even in a smaller school in the outlining areas of Oklahoma and we need good teachers out there," Dave Bear said, a teacher at Lawton Eisenhower High School.

Schools will have 30 days to review the accuracy of the state's data on them before their grades are released in October.

To help all schools improve, Barresi announced a "Raise The Grade Together" program that will provide schools with helpful resources.

Every school's grade will be posted on the Education Department's website.

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