Doddridge superintendent talks A-F grading system

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By Katie Anderson 

WEST UNION - In January of 2014 Governor Tomblin announced in his State of the State Address that he wanted the WV Board of Education to develop a grading system for schools. Policy 2320 is now in place, and Doddridge County Schools will be one of the first to be graded.

The emphasis of Policy 2320 is to make it so the public understands how schools are performing.

That's where the grading system comes in. Schools will now be graded on their performance: A through F.

"One of the problems the [general] public, parents and community members, was having was understanding how well is the school that my child goes to, how are they doing? Some of the terminology that was used before, such as a focus school or a priority school, was a little hard to understand. A, B, C, D, everyone understands what that means,” explained Rick Coffman, Doddridge County Superintendent.

Each school will be graded on achievement, student growth, performance of the lowest 25% of students, and graduation rates for high schools.

For example, if 50% of students reach proficiency scores on the standardize test, that school will receive 100 points out of 200.

The scores for each category are added together, for a final total.

That total will equal out a letter grade. A grade of C or better are good scores, and the schools who are ranked at a D or F will be given ways to improve.

Coffman said it's good that this system considers student growth.

"In the old 'No Child Left Behind' you were either proficient or you weren't proficient. You may have gained two grade levels, but you still weren't proficient. This way, it shows growth. School improvement is a continuous process and you need to know whether that student in that school is growing or not,” Coffman explained.

Growth is considered in four different categories, math and reading observed growth, and math and reading adequate growth.

Again, if 50% of the students show growth, that school will receive half of the points.

Coffman said Doddridge County will find out its grade next year at this time, and he's excited to see what they do well, and what they can improve.

"We'll get all of our good news and then we'll find out 'ok you're not up to snuff in these couple areas here.' We will develop a plan to address these deficiencies and then in the end result the school system will grow, and that is the whole purpose,” said Coffman.

Coffman also explained that before, only schools who were not performing well were getting visited by the Office of Education Performance Audit team. With the new system, all the schools in the state will get evaluated.