Sen. Stuart Adams (R-Layton) is pushing some tweaks to Utah’s system for grading schools that generated much controversy last year.
The system assigns a single letter grade to schools based on performance, graduation rates and standardized testing scores. Adams says a group of stakeholders met throughout the interim to come up with the changes to improve the system.
“When you get opposing sides together and you come up with consensus, that’s the best way to do things,” says Adams.
Under the old system, if a certain percentage of low-performing students did not take standardized tests, the school got an automatic “F” grade. Under SB 209, a school would be dropped one letter grade instead of the automatic fail. The bill also gives an exemption to the system for new schools – one year for new elementary schools and two years for new high schools.
“I think we’re refining and compromising,” says Adams. “There’s no totally fair evaluating system, but over time we can make changes so we can come up with the best system possible.”