Superintendent encouraged with recent A-F state report cards

The annual report cards for all Oklahoma school districts were released on Thursday by the Oklahoma State Department of Education. The Guthrie school district saw a rise and fall at various schools.

The results reflected an increase in the Elementary grade by six percent resulting in a C score (76 percent). The elementary grade for Guthrie Public Schools includes Cotteral, Central, Fogarty and Guthrie Upper Elementary School.

Central Grade 2014-15 | Cotteral Grade 2014-15 | Fogarty Grade 2014-15 | GUES Grade 2014-15 | High School Grade 2014-15 | Junior High Grade 2014-15

School officials point out that due to the configuration of the district’s grade centers, this measure allows the district to be more fairly evaluated.

“I’m encouraged with the results. Realistically, over two years, the elementary grade has risen by 18 percent while the grade at the Junior High has risen by 20 percent,” Guthrie Superintendent Dr. Mike Simpson said in a press release.

The Junior High saw a B grade (84 percent) increase by two percent from the previous school year. The High School grade dropped from a 76 to 71 percent resulting in a C minus, but Simpson says he is not as worried on the lower high school score at the current time.

“The drop at the High School would be of greater concern to me if our ACT scores correlated with the drop. I consider the ACT test a much more reliable measure of student learning and our results indicated improvement when the statewide average went down,” Simpson said.

“I’m thankful that State Superintendent (Joy) Hofmeister is putting in place a mechanism where all high school students can take the ACT free of charge.”

The school leader continued, “The continued improvement is evidence that many of the reforms we have put in place locally are working. Those reforms are only as effective as our staff wants them to be. This is why I am so proud of our students and staff for their accomplishments as we work every day to make ourselves better than we were the day before.”

State Superintendent Hofmeister has indicated she has no confidence in the validity or reliability of the report cards in their current framework. The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) determines the grades using a formula that had been mandated by a 2013 state law. The OSDE supports strong accountability for education, but problems with the A-F Report Cards have seriously undermined the system’s credibility. Even the U.S. Department of Education has criticized the report cards and required modifications as a condition for receiving the No Child Left Behind waiver.

House Bill 1823, which took effect in June, requires the State Board of Education to submit a report on the transparency, statistical trustworthiness and credibility of the current A-F system to the governor and legislative leaders by Dec. 31. Research scientists at Oklahoma’s two leading research universities are among those currently conducting that review and will have recommendations by December.

“I am committed to a system of accountability that is accurate, reliable and meaningful,” Hofmeister said. “In its current form, the A-F Report Cards are too flawed to be useful. I am optimistic that we can have a better system.”

This year throughout the state, there were 212 A’s, 497 B’s, 536 C’s, 333 D’s and 183 F’s.

By contrast, in the 2014-15 school year, there were 284 A’s, 470 B’s, 492 C’s, 292 D’s and 196 F’s.


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