State to implement A-F grading system next fall

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By Chelsi Baker 
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The West Virginia Board of Education will start holding schools accountable for their performance in a more concrete way starting in the fall of 2015.

The state will implement an A-F letter grading system for all public schools, which will offer clear and concise information on schools’ overall performances from year to year in a way that parents, educators and students can easily understand, the state BOE reports.

Senate Bill 359 now allows the state BOE to define how schools are held accountable and how school systems are accredited, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin required that the board adopt a policy that would assign an A through F grade to public schools.

Fifteen states and New York City used the system in 2013.

“Schools will be graded according to their students’ performance and growth in reading/language arts and math. Schools are scored on accelerating the performance of their lowest achieving students in reading/language arts and math,” said Michele Blatt, a West Virginia Department of Education assistant superintendent. “High schools will also be graded on their graduation rates.”

The state Department of Education will calculate schools’ performances, which will then be transferred to the West Virginia Office of Education Performance Audits for verification through the accreditation process. Once verified, the performance level is approved by the state BOE and communicated to schools, county school systems and communities, she said.