State Board of Education gives out grades to Alabama’s schools

Putnam Birmingham
Readus Linton and Mason Jackson, Putnam Middle School 8th graders, constructing a new greenhouse.

Our state report card for schools was recently released. How did Alabama do? Are we in trouble, Birmingham?

Making The Grades

A 2012 state law requires Alabama to grade all of its K-12 schools, and the first letter grade was recently released. Alabama received a C+. Next the state will release grades for individual schools.

The state grade was revealed during a recent work session for the Alabama Board of Education. Local school superintendents received their schools’ grades, too, but the public won’t know them until February 1. That’s when all of Jefferson County’s 56 schools will learn their grades.

IMG 4579 State Board of Education gives out grades to Alabama's schools
Wenonah High School Students via Bham Now

Here’s a link to the report card.

How Is The Grade Calculated?

The state grade is based on the following:

  • Students’ performances on tests, including scores on the ACT Aspire standardized test for grades three through eight
  • How prepared they are for college or work after graduation
  • Improvements on test scores from one year to the next
  • High school graduation rates
  • How many students missed 15 or more days of school during the 2016-2017 school year

Schools earned points for each category and were then scaled from A to F.

08.11.15 back to school pic State Board of Education gives out grades to Alabama's schools

Overly Simplistic?

According to Education Week, Alabama is one of 18 states that give out grades to schools based on test scores.

” …at least 18 states have adopted some version of a system that relies mostly on standardized-test scores and graduation rates to generate letter-grade report cards, similar to the ones students receive throughout the school year. Legislation is pending in a handful of states to join that group.”

Education Week also reported that among the states that give grades, local push back  among state educators is common. The biggest complaint is that the scores don’t adequately reflect the true performance of a school.

Birmingham Alabama
The Rotaract of Birmingham free School Supply Giveaway to be held on Saturday, August 5th at 4 public libraries throughout the Magic City – Photo courtesy of Rotaract of Birmingham.
Other Grades

You may have heard about other labels placed on Jefferson County schools. The state recently released a report of 75 schools they consider “failing”. Five Jefferson County schools were on the list, which was based on school-wide ACT Aspire scores from last spring.

It was the first administration of the tests across the state.

The five high schools in Jefferson County on the list are:

  • Center Point
  • McAdory
  • Minor
  • Pinson Valley
  • Pleasant Grove.

    Craig Pouncey, Birmingham, Alabama, School, Superintendet
    Via JefCoEd

Jefferson County School Superintendent Craig Pouncey said the results should only be used as a baseline.

All of these rankings, yikes! The scores seem so confusing, don’t you think? Birmingham, what are your thoughts about this grading process?

I wish someone would assess whether the number of snow days accounts for student performance. That’s just this mama’s two cents!

Here’s Some Good News

Here’s a list of the 30 best schools for college preparation in Alabama. A website called Niche compiled these scores. According to their website, their rankings are based on “rigorous analysis of statistics and student and parent reviews at over 100,000 schools across the United States.”

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