Tulsa Schools React To A-F Grade Reports

Friday, October 26th 2012, 6:31 pm

The A-F grades for public schools are out and now school officials are explaining how they ended up with what they got.

Tulsa Superintendent Keith Ballard says he's done talking about A-F grades, after sending a letter home to parents Friday.

10/26/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Public School Superintendent Says He's Done Talking About A-F

Now, it's up to principals to tell parents what those grades mean.

Webster High School landed right in the middle of the grade scale with a "C."

Principal Jim Rector thinks his school deserved a higher score - at least a "B."

"We're taking kids who are a very low-end and taking them to above average, in the end. So, what we're doing at this school is an "A" or "B+" average, there's no doubt in my mind," Rector said.

The specifics on Webster's grade bring up some of the concerns that educators have about the grading system.

Webster got "A's" in two categories of student growth, but a "C" and "F" in achievement in the same subjects.

"So, one of those grades is skewed, one is not. How can you possibly say my child is in a school that's making an ‘F' in Algebra I, but is also making an ‘A' in Algebra I?" Rector said.

10/25/2012 Related Story: State Board Of Education Releases School Report Cards

But some scores are clearer.

In Biology, Webster got a "D." In U.S. History, Webster got an "F."

"U.S. History is an area that we need improvement in—we're aware of that. It is what it is. We take responsibility for it and we will move on," Rector said.

While enough of Webster's students take college exams to help the grade, their average performance on the exam was low, and that brought it down.

And while few students take advanced classes, their scores on advanced exams are good.

All of that together created the overall "C" grade.

Only 61 percent of Webster students graduate and that didn't help, but the principal said they can't control some of the elements that make up the grade.

"There are outside issues, socio-economic issues, that we don't have any control over," Rector said.

Even though a lot of superintendents dispute the grades, a lot of people are checking them.

The State Department of Education reports that in the hours after the grades came out, the A-F website was getting more than 15,000 hits per minute.