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OPED - Oklahoma’s A-F Report Cards flawed and misleading

When considering if a school is a good fit for their children, parents need comprehensive and accurate information to make a good choice – things not found in the current accountability system known as the A-F report cards. 

The release of the 2015 report cards is particularly unfortunate. State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has indicated the reports are published only to comply with state and federal law. She also said she has no confidence in the validity or reliability of the system in its current framework. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education has criticized the system and requires modifications for Oklahoma to receive the No Child Left Behind waiver.

Educators and research scientists from the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University also have questioned validity and reliability of the A-F calculations. Among other things, their research found the report cards mislead the public by masking performance of poor and minority students, who were found to perform better in lower-ranking schools. Click here to read the research.

The state legislature has called for a task force to address the system’s flaws, study alternative options and propose solutions. The fact that our own state leaders proposed the task force demonstrates that inaccurate and misleading information is being distributed to parents about Oklahoma’s schools.

It’s clear the system doesn’t accurately measure the performance of our schools or teachers, nor does it reflect the success of our students. In Norman, we are committed to providing equal opportunities for all children to succeed. That’s why we work hard to implement consistent curriculum across the district, develop innovative educational partnerships with the University of Oklahoma and provide rigorous professional development for our educators. Our teachers and administrators focus their efforts each and every day to serve and support our students.

As teachers and administrators, we should be accountable for our work. However, any accountability system should be an accurate measure of the comprehensive work that contributes to the overall success of our students and schools. Regardless of the accountability system used, we remain committed to student success and will continue to advocate on behalf of our state’s future leaders - Norman’s children.

 

Dr. Joe Siano
Superintendent
Norman Public Schools