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ExcelinEd Commends Arizona on Efforts to Refine A-F School Grading System

Tallahassee, Fla. – Since 2010, Arizona has employed an A-F School Grading System to help spur improvement among all schools. Equally important, the grades provide critical information about school performance to parents, educators and the public. Today, the Arizona State Board of Education began the process of refining that system to better serve students and schools.

“The quickest way to see results is to set goals that are demanding yet achievable. School grading systems do this quite effectively and Arizona’s schools continue to meet the challenge by outpacing the nation when it comes to academic improvement. I commend the Arizona Board of Education’s commitment to accountability and transparency and for taking the steps necessary to review, update and improve their school letter grading system. Most of all, I congratulate Arizona educators for embracing this system and putting in the hard work to ensure Arizona’s students continue to raise the bar,” said Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd).

ExcelinEd’s Senior Policy Fellow Dr. Christy Hovanetz presented how a state school grading accountability system can be improved to the Board today.

Most states use vague labels, such as “satisfactory” or “Level 1” to rate schools instead of offering parents, policymakers and the public transparent, objective information about school effectiveness. In 1999, Florida made the revolutionary decision to grade schools on an A-F scale just like students—no further explanation needed. Since that time 16 states adopted a similar system.

Behind the A-F simplicity is a data-driven system of accountability. ExcelinEd promotes an A-F School Grading policy that measures what matters: overall student performance and progress, with extra focus on struggling students, and graduation rates and college and career readiness in high school. School grading works by holding all schools to the same high expectations and clearly communicating the results to parents.