theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

November 25, 2013

Researchers: A-F report cards are flawed


www.theadanews.com

Ada —

It is one thing for schools affected by A-F report cards to complain about the methodology behind them. In common parlance, they have a “dog in the fight.” Because that is so, some parents may wonder if school administrators’ negative comments about Oklahoma’s school grading system are only a defensive reaction that can be dismissed as falling under the auspices of “the truth hurts.”

As truth goes, nothing could be further from it. 

We know this because legitimate sources with no stake in the argument are saying so. The Tulsa World reports that University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University researchers have sifted through the A-F school grading criteria and essentially given it an “F.” 

According to the Tulsa World, researchers studied 15,000 students in 63 state schools and concluded that the grades reflect “randomness, chance or error” and, as the newspaper reports, is flawed. 

It is not merely flawed. It is most sincerely flawed.

“Students who are in F schools have higher achievement in reading on average than students who are in D schools,” said Curt Adams, senior research scientist at Oklahoma Center for Education Policy at OU. Further, the newspaper reports Adams saying the most troubling finding was that poor students who are in F and D schools have higher average achievement than poor students who are in A and B schools. 

Adams also said the highest math achievement was not in A schools. One C school had the highest math achievement rate of all 63 schools, the Tulsa World reported.

Gov. Mary Fallin’s spokesman said she does not support the findings of the research, according to The World. This would be laughable if it weren’t so telling. In fact, in its own way it sums up most of Oklahoma’s problems in education. Politicians with no background in the discipline are attempting to fix what isn’t broken. Worse, they refuse to be swayed by facts. 

The fact is, Oklahoma’s school grading system is not only doing nothing to improve the situation, it is actually making it worse.