Erica Cardenas

A—F letter grades released for schools

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Last month, Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal, announced the release of Arizona’s A—F letter grades for all district and charter schools in the state. 

In accordance with ARS 15-241, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) is charged with assigning letter grades to every district and charter school in the state. These letter grades are based on student performance on the AIMS tests and student academic growth from year to year, with additional points awarded for high numbers of English language learner reclassifications, as well as significant reductions in dropout rates. 

Every school and district receives a report card with a grade that reflects their annual academic profile. 

In order to comply with the Arizona law, ADE added three more models to the letter grading system this year, which provide even greater value to parents as they choose appropriate school placement for their children.

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Over the last two years, the A—F grades were applied to a traditional school model that included schools with student populations over 100. This year, the Department, working collaboratively with the education community, developed an A—F model for small schools with student populations under 100, alternative schools, and K-2 schools. 

“Our Department is dedicated to providing parents fair, yet rigorous, evaluations of schools so they can make informed decisions about their child’s education,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction, John Huppenthal. 

“We recognize that higher accountability leads to higher academic results. This has been proven over the last year, as we see a general upward trend in grades for many schools, charters and districts,” Huppenthal added.

In 2012, 23 percent of Arizona’s 1,733 schools received an “A” grade, while 34 percent received a “B.” A comparison of the 1,473 schools that received letter grades in both 2011 and 2012 shows an overall increase in the number of  “A” and “B” schools in 2012, with an attendant decrease in the number of  “C” and “D” schools. Twenty-five percent of Arizona schools increased their letter grades, while 62 percent maintained the same grade. 

“Through our A—F letter grading accountability system we are able to identify educational weaknesses and strengths that can help drive schools to improve,” Huppenthal stated. “I am committed to working with our educational leaders, teachers, parents and students as we identify areas needing improvement and develop strategies to continue to improve results for our students.”

To view the A—F letter grades, visit azed.gov/research-evaluation/a-f-accountability/ 

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