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School officials contend State grading system is flawed

When the Arizona Department of Education meets today at 10 a.m. in Phoenix, two local school officials will be there to present their views concerning the state’s A-F grading system of public schools.

Arizona education officials annually rank schools throughout the state, calculating grades using data from the previous school year based on student performance on the AZ Merit test plus other factors such as English language arts proficiency and absenteeism rates. Using an A through F scale, the grading system measures year-to-year student academic growth plus math and science performance.

Lake Havasu Unified School District Superintendent Diana Asseier said that she and Thunderbolt Middle School Principal Mari Jo Mulligan requested to be placed on the meeting’s agenda. They want to explain why they believe the system is flawed when grading middle schools throughout the state.

Overall, all Havasu schools earned high marks from state board of education with “A” and “B” grades. However, Thunderbolt earned a “C” in the most recent results, missing a “B” by 1.2 points. It earned a “B” the year before.

Asseier and Mulligan contend that it becomes more difficult for students to show year-to-year growth or to demonstrate proficiency at the middle school level. The women will provide charts based on the state’s own hard data to illustrate their point.

Asseier said she and Mulligan will request that the board consider a separate model for rating middle schools. While she feels her argument and documentation is solid, she said they don’t have much time to state their case.

“We are both going to speak,” Asseier said. “We each have three minutes.”


by Pam Ashley, Today's News-Herald
Dec 13, 2019

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