New Utah school accountability report doesn’t assign letter grades

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education released new 2018 school accountability report cards Thursday.

According to a press release, the redesigned report cards get rid of traditional A-F letter grades for schools’ overall performance and instead provide ratings on a five-point scale in different areas used to assess school performance.

The five points, from highest to lowest, are: exemplary, commendable, typical, developing and critical needs. The different aspects of school performance that are rated include academic proficiency and growth in core subjects, progress on English language proficiency, graduation rate, performance on the ACT college entrance exam and success in readiness coursework, which includes Advanced Placement and concurrent enrollment participation, and students who complete career and technical education Career Pathways.

The interactive report allows parents and other interested parties to compare the performance of schools in each of the indicators with schools all over the state. Users can also access an overview of student scores on proficiency exams in the state.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson said in a statement that she hopes parents will use the new report cards as an opportunity to “look more deeply into their child’s school performance.”

“The comprehensive data that will now be publicly available offers a clearer picture of school progress and achievement in core subjects and advanced coursework,” Dickson said.

The Utah Education Association had a positive response to the new school accountability reports. UEA President Heidi Matthews said in a statement that the new report cards “represent a step in the right direction,” calling previous report cards that assigned A-F letter grades “punitive and shortsighted.”

“The UEA supports elimination of the letter-grade accountability model in favor of a dashboard model that provides parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers with more comprehensive data to inform decisions.”

The Utah State Board of Education released a Frequently Asked Questions document to go along with the new report. View that document here.