Claremore Daily Progress

October 24, 2013

A-F grades released with more errors

Mark Friedel
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Due to miscalculations by the Oklahoma State Department of Education, four changes have been made to Claremore School District’s A-F grades since their Oct. 16 release. 
Claremore Superintendent Mike McClaren said the grades were sent out to be reviewed by school administrators during the mid-afternoon of Oct. 16. 
The release was shortly followed by a notice from the department of education, stating that the grades had been changed and were changed again about an hour later. By 9 p.m. on Oct. 16, McClaren received news that they had been changed again for a third time.
He said the department of education did not include proper consideration of special students, school demographics and student attendance.
State Superintendent Janet Barresi announced Oct. 18 that problems with the A-F school grades had been fixed.
“A fourth miscalculation was brought to my attention (Tuesday),” said McClaren. “Graduation rates, as well as, advanced courses offered to Claremore High School and Will Rogers Junior High were not properly considered, which would withhold us from earning bonus points toward our final overall grade.”
House Bill 1658, passed by the senate in May, changed the percentage weights for student improvement, student growth and growth of the lowest 25 percent of students. 
Student improvement was shifted to count as 50 percent of the grade, while student growth and growth of the lowest 25 percent of students would each count as 25 percent. 
The whole school improvement category was eliminated and a provision was added for schools to earn bonus points toward their final overall grade. 
The first announcement of grades for schools statewide were posted to a secure website for school administrators to review before they can be certified by the state Board of Education.
McClaren said the miscalculations made the school grades difficult to review since they were not all finalized by the state.
Following the initial changes made to the grades, the state Board of Education extended the deadline for the 10-day review period to 10 a.m. Oct. 28. The grades will be presented to the state board on Oct. 29 for certification, before being released publicly.
The state legislature changed the formula for how the report card grades would be calculated after superintendents statewide disapproved the system, saying that the grading system does not accurately reflect a school’s performance.
House Bill 1658 passed by the senate in May, changed the percentage weights for student improvement, student growth and growth of the lowest 25 percent of students. 
Student improvement was shifted to count as 50 percent of the grade, while student growth and growth of the lowest 25 percent of students would each count toward 25 percent of the final grade.
McClaren said because of recent errors with state Board of Education grading, he is asking administrators from each Claremore school to double check their student demographics to make sure they are not being duplicated. 
Final school grades are expected to be released publicly by the end of October, said State Department of Education spokeswoman Sherry Fair.