The Pryor Times

February 25, 2013

Proposed changes to report card rule

— Pryor Times

The Oklahoma State Department of Education released for public comment several proposed changes to the A-F Report Card rule. These proposed changes are the result of concerns previously expressed by education stakeholders across the state including board members, superintendents, administrators, teachers, parents and state legislators.

“I’m pleased with the changes we are proposing to the A-F rule and I understand that more changes may occur as we work through the public comment period and legislative session. The State Department of Education is committed to engaging state education stakeholders in conversations that result in improving the system now and in coming years,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi. One of the more significant changes being proposed regards a concern raised by superintendents and administrators. Last year students enrolled in advanced courses were only counted once regardless of the number of advanced classes they were taking. With the new rule, schools will be given credit for each advanced class a student takes, meaning if a student is enrolled in three advanced coursework classes, the school will be given three credits as opposed to the one they were given last year.

Additionally, last year, AP and IB advanced courses were counted separately from other advanced coursework. This rule was of concern to smaller districts and rural districts that may not have access to AP and IB courses but do offer other advanced coursework opportunities. It is proposed that all advanced coursework receive the same level of credit.Another significant change made after input from school administrators is that the school climate survey has been removed as a bonus component within the system. The school climate survey was intended to measure the level of support within the school and community for the programs and administration of the district. Many felt this was a factor outside of their control and therefore an unfair measurement.

To allow districts more time to verify the data they submit to the State Department of Education, the process for districts to validate their data also will be different. There will be an ongoing process as data becomes available. With each data set submitted to the state, districts will have at least 30 days to review the information.

In addition, prior to the release of the actual report cards, schools will have an additional 10 days to certify their final calculations as correct.

In addition to the above proposed changes, the State Department of Education is seeking legislative changes that address a number of concerns including the students that constitute the bottom 25 percent of student achievers. The original rule measured academic growth among the bottom 25 percent of students scoring “unsatisfactory” or “limited knowledge” on state mandated tests. The new rule changes the definition of that group to be the true 25 percent of students scoring the lowest on state mandated tests.