OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Gov. Mary Fallin has signed bills to institute a letter-grade system for rating Oklahoma schools and end social promotion after the third grade.
Fallin said during a signing ceremony Wednesday the two Republican-sponsored changes to will help schools produce better-educated and more-skilled students.
"Establishing a grading system like this empowers parents and communities by giving them an easy way to evaluate the quality of the schools they are sending their children to," said Fallin. "The potential to earn high marks will also give students, teachers and administrators something to strive for."
State Superintendent Janet Barresi says the A-to-F letter-grade system for schools will be in place for the 2011-12 school year.
She said the grades will be based on factors including test scores, educational progress of lower-performing students and graduation rates.
"Parents have a right to know how their schools are performing without having to interpret obscure numbers," Barresi said. "A new A-F report card for schools will also motivate communities to help schools improve."
The social promotion bill will require third-grade students to demonstrate proficiency in reading before advancing to fourth grade. Fallin says it's not fair to send illiterate children to higher grade level.
Critics of the proposals say what Oklahoma schools really need is more funding.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.