Panel recommends new grade rules

Article By: Will Sentell | January 31, 2014 | Originally Posted on theadvocate.com

A key state advisory panel voted 12-0 on Monday to revamp a controversial policy that awards bonus points for low-achieving students in figuring grades for public schools.

The rule sparked controversy and questions in the fall when the state Department of Education announced that 28 percent of schools were rated D and F, down from 36 percent in the previous year.

Less clear was the fact that, under a new state policy, schools and school districts were awarded points on key tests for students showing significant gains even if their scores remained below grade level.

Roughly one out of five schools statewide earned the maximum number of bonus points — 10 — on a 150-point scale.

State Superintendent of Education John White told the School Accountability Commission that the policy is aimed at ensuring attention for struggling students as the state increases academic standards.

“That is all this is meant to do,” White said.

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