What grade would your school get?

February 13, 2013

Today, using an idea endorsed by leaders of both parties, Washington Policy Center publishes letter grades for schools on the Washington State Public School Achievement Index. The Index is based on the State Board of Education Achievement Index, accessible here.

Even though the idea of assigning letter grades to schools has wide appeal, state government has yet to adopt the idea.

The State Board of Education’s Index ranks schools in five categories: Exemplary, Very Good, Good, Fair and Struggling.

These categories can be thought of as letter grades, with Exemplary meaning an “A,” Very Good a “B,” Good a “C,” Fair a “D,” and Struggling an “F.”

Governor Jay Inslee says he wants “to establish a system in which every school in the state receives a letter grade that's accessible to parents.” Some lawmakers like the idea, too. Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island, introduced SB 5328, to create an A through F system based on the State Board of Education’s accountability measures. A companion measure, HB 1476, has been introduced in the House by Rep. Cathy Dahlquist, R-Enumclaw. In addition, 11 states and New York City use a letter-grading system for schools.

Letter grades are instantly familiar and understandable. Educators give letter grades to students every day to assess academic progress through the year.  In the same way, grades for schools would show policymakers and parents how well schools are performing in their paramount duty to provide a quality education to every child.

Washington Public Schools by Achievement Index Category (A–F)*

Category

Letter
Grade

Number of
Schools

Percentage of
All Schools

Exemplary

A

231

11%

Very Good

B

320

15%

Good

C

777

35%

Fair

D

599

27%

Struggling

F

154

7%

* Of the 2,189 schools, 108 (or 5%) were not ranked by the State Board of Education.

 

Comments

Don't forget charters

Let's make sure this legislation applies to charter schools as well.