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Letter grades better than AYP

-A A +A

Schools still feel pressure to hit the standards

By Sherry Robinson

Making AYP.
This bit of education jargon has hung like a sword over schools and educators since the Bush administration introduced No Child Left Behind in 2001. In an attempt at accountability, the yardstick called Annual Yearly Progress was supposed to push schools and students toward improvement. But in design and implementation, it guaranteed that most schools would eventually not make AYP.
So it’s hard to get excited about the new initiative, letter grades for schools. The governor considers it one of her education reform planks, and it won support from Democratic education leaders in the Legislature. Sen. Cynthia Nava, chair of the Senate Education Committee, supported the idea because it recognized growth and not just the watermark of proficiency.
To understand why grading a school A to F might work, first consider why AYP doesn’t work.
Think about your work. Let’s say there are 37 standards you must reach to be considered competent, and you reach 34 or 35, which makes you incompetent.
But wait! You’re good at what you do, you say. Sorry, those are the rules, and the bar gets higher every year.


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