Arizona Department of Education releases letter grades for schools, Marana receives a 'B' - Tucson Local Media: News

Arizona Department of Education releases letter grades for schools, Marana receives a 'B'

AIMS scores also released

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Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 11:58 am | Updated: 12:05 pm, Thu Aug 2, 2012.

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) released letter grades for every school district statewide on Wednesday, with no districts receiving an “F” this year.

In accordance with Arizona Revised Statute 15-241 ADE is charged with attributing letter grades to every district and charger school in the state. These letter grades are based on the weighting of student performance on the AIMS tests and student academic growth from year to year, along with additional points awarded for high English Language Learner reclassifications, and significant reductions in dropout rates. Every school and district receives a report card with a grade that reflects their annual academic profile.

While the Amphitheater School District shows the grade is still pending, the Marana School District received a “B”.

In order to further comply with Arizona’s law, this year ADE added three more models to the letter grading system, which provides even greater value to parents as they choose appropriate placement for their students. Over the last two years the A-F grades were applied to a traditional school model that included those schools with student populations of more than 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 higher accountability leads to higher academic results. This has been proven over the last year, as we see the general trending upward in grades for many schools, charters, and districts.”

In 2012, of 1,733 Arizona schools, 23 percent received an “A” grade, while 34 percent received a “B.” In comparing 2011 and 2012, of the 1,473 schools who received letter grades in both 2011 and 2012, there was an overall increase in both “A’s” and “B’s” from 2011 to 2012, and a decrease in “C’s” and D’s. Twenty-five percent of our schools increased their letter grades, and 62 percent maintained them.

“Through our A-F letter grading accountability system we are able to identify educational weaknesses and strengths that can help drive schools to improve,” said Huppenthal. “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.”

achievement and growth in their schools and district.

ADE also released AIMS (Arizona’s Instrument for Measuring Standards) test scores this week. High school students are required to pass all portions of the AIMS test to be eligible to graduate.

The test is administered to high school and elementary school students every year.

“We continue to show increases each year with our AIMS scores across the spectrum. Not only have we made progress this year, but anticipate greater progress in coming years”, said Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal. “The Department is committed to providing the necessary support our teachers and schools need to help students become college and career ready. As we transition into our new Arizona college and career ready standards over the next year, it is imperative our districts and schools focus on meeting these new standards. We must continue to move our students forward, showing increasing growth in student mastery of math, reading, writing and science standards. I have great confidence our educational leaders, teachers and students are up to this challenge.”

Arizona saw marked improvement on the AIMS science test, with 60 percent of the students passing the science assessment. This is a 6 percent increase over 2010 when 54 percent of the students passed the science requirements.

With respect to the AIMS reading test, a total of 77 percent of Arizona’s students passed the reading assessment. This represents a 4 percentage point increase over 2010 when 73 percent of students passed the reading requirements.

In 2009, the writing test for grades 5,6,7 and 10 was revised to reflect higher academic standards. As a result of the increase in writing standards, it was anticipated there would be a drop in our student’s writing scores from 2009-2010. Once leveling to the new standard, however, we again see a slight increase in writing scores from 56% passing in 2011 to 57% passing in 2012.

AIMS math scores increased slightly in 2012, with 60 percent of students passing the mathematics assessment compared to 59 percent in 2011.

A complete list of AIMS test results by grade, school, district, charter and county can be found at: http://www.azed.gov/research-evaluation/aims-assessment-results/

To view the A-F Letter Grades visit http://www.azed.gov/research-evaluation/a-f-accountability/

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