As states look to recalibrate their accountability measures under the new federal K-12 law, some are rethinking their grading system for public schools.
At least 17 states have or are developing an A-F grading system for their schools, similar to what students see on their report cards.
Proponents of the system, including the Foundation for Excellence in Education – founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – say it is important to grade schools in an easy and understandable way for the public.
Critics, however, say affixing each school with a letter grade oversimplifies what it means to be a quality school and that the program relies too heavily on standardized test scores.
Pennsylvania has not considered an A-F grading scale for schools. Instead, Education Secretary Pedro Rivera unveiled a proposal last year to replace the state's annual School Performance Profiles, implemented in 2013. The profiles assign each school a percentage grade, rather than a letter grade.
“Our current system of accountability is far too reliant on standardized tests and not focused enough on skills students need to be successful,” Rivera told The Associated Press in December.
Currently, up to 90 percent of a school's annual score is based on standardized test scores.
Dubbed the Future Ready PA Index, the new system could debut sometime this year, Rivera said.