Rollback of Simplistic A-F School Ratings Approved in House Committee

The House Public Education Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to revise and roll back the simplistic A-F school-rating scheme enacted in 2015. The bipartisan unanimity for HB 22 bodes well for the ratings rollback in the full House.

HB 22 as approved in committee delays the first use of the A-F rating system until the 2019-2020 school year. Through 2018-2019 the existing rating system would remain in force.

HB 22 also bars use of a single, summative grade for a district or school once A-F ratings do take effect. The letter grades would be used in separate ratings of student achievement, school progress, and school climate.

Student performance on standardized tests would have reduced weight as a measure of student achievement. Many other measures of proficiency would contribute to calculations of student achievement.

One HB 22 provision needs some further work. That section, on indicators of teacher quality as a part of the “school climate” domain, says that up to 25 percent of a teacher-quality measure that considers performance of a teacher’s students can be based  on students’ scores on state assessments.  But educational research tells us such use of students’ standardized test scores as a gauge of teachers’ work has not proven valid or reliable.