A-F Grades: State Board Permits School Districts To Discuss Preliminary Grades

Wednesday, October 10th 2012, 7:18 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The state department of education is now telling school districts they can openly discuss their preliminary grades, even though they're subject to change.

It doesn't appear any districts are releasing the grades yet, but the state is leaving it up to them.

The state board of education voted to hold back school report cards, while the formula for determining the school's A-F grade is adjusted and the results reviewed.

10/8/2012 Related Story: A-F Grades: State Board Votes To Delay Release Of School Grades

But shortly after the vote, the state department of education told schools they could release the grades if they wanted.

That's raised some eyebrows among districts, because the whole reason the grades were held back is because they're potentially incorrect.

"We have made the decision we're not going to do that. The state board voted 6-0 to hold them, they didn't think they were ready for primetime yet," said Chris Payne, of Tulsa Public Schools.

The school districts had a month to review the grades before the board's vote, but were asked to keep the grades private while they were under review.

10/8/2012 Related Story: School Superintendents Hope To Change Formula For Determining Letter Grades

Now, the state department has lifted the embargo and is giving local districts the option.

A department spokesperson said, "It was certainly not our intent to direct districts to release their report cards. We were simply giving guidance to many districts that asked about what they could communicate."

With the embargo lifted, schools are free to discuss their preliminary grades and how they might change.

Tulsa Public Schools says the change in the formula is expected to make a major change in the grades.

"We were looking at our own projected grades and it looked like a number of schools were dropping a whole letter grade, because of this measure, so no we're not releasing them," Payne said.

The adjustment of the formula is likely to bump up the grades.

TPS says at least 30 schools are down a letter grade because of that one calculation that's under review.