Letter grades proposed to spell out how Pa. schools perform

    A Pennsylvania House proposal aims to make the state assign a simple letter grade to each school and school district in the commonwealth.



    The A-through-F grades would be based on data that’s already being collected.

    StudentsFirst, a national education reform organization, supports the proposal.

    The report cards would be based on student and teacher performance, relative progress, and things such as attendance and graduation rates, according to state director Ashley DeMauro.

    “Because at this point when we say how well is a school performing, we generally just go to the PSSA or the Keystone results and say, ‘Here’s the student achievement results, and this is how well a school’s performing,'” she said. “I think a measure like this that includes multiple measures provides a much richer and more well-rounded view of a school’s performance.”

    The Pennsylvania School Boards Association suggests it’s unnecessary based on work the state’s already doing.

    But DeMauro says school report cards would benefit parents by allowing them to better evaluate their schools — and it would benefit schools by incentivizing continual improvement.

    “And I would like to see, ultimately, that if there are two school districts that are side by side serving very similar student populations, and that they’re receiving dramatically different grades, I envision that this could inspire greater collaboration and sharing of best practices to improve the system as a whole,” she said.

    A state Department of Education spokesman says the agency will review the proposal.

    The state has a not-yet-functional website designed to assign letter grades to each school and school district based on similar measures.

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