State Grading System Under Attack - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

State Grading System Under Attack

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"I do not believe that this A-F formula is meaningful, accurate, nor beneficial," said Tulsa public school superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard.

Critics might try to write off the Superintendent's assessment, since it essentially criticizes his performance as a leader, until you take into account that some professors at OU, independent of TPS, are saying the same thing, and that they contend there are three main flaws with the system. The first being that the difference between getting an A or an F was just 3 to 6 correct responses on the test.

"That renders it statistically, in its present form, statistically insignificant," said Ballard.

We'll call the second main flaw "Apples to Oranges." The researchers found the test gets into trouble by trying to quantify different subjects such as Math, English, and Science, into one letter grade, and found, for example, that math performance in some D and F schools was actually higher than that in some B and C schools.

"I really don't think their testing methodology is very sound," said TPS school board member Gary Percefull.

Finally, there's "Lost in the Shuffle," where the researchers found that A and B schools are actually the least effective for low performing poor and minority kids, because the better off kids score so high they essentially mask the low performance of the poor kids.

"I believe in some areas it is truly flawed," said TPS board member Dr. Lana Turner Addison.

The ultimate irony of a grading system getting failing grades of it's own? That the school district under fire is offering to help the state get it right.

"In fact, I would offer that if the state department of education were interested in people who really do know how to put together a formula that would adequately grade schools, perhaps they ought to pick up about three of our data analysts that are all Ivy league trained. We would be glad to be part of that discussion," said Ballard.

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