Utah School Grades released
Ryan Summerlin September 3, 2013
The Utah legislature passed a school grading bill in 2011, and two years later, after several modifications (SB271 S3), single letter grades were issued to schools across the state Tuesday.
The School Grading Program has faced criticism, such as the argument that it does not count the progress made by students who still may not be up to par but have made leaps and bounds when it comes to learning.
According to the Utah School Boards Association (USBA), the program also seems to be "roughly aligned with economic factors in a community," thus higher grades may be given to schools located in more wealthy socioeconomic areas than others located in areas of "high poverty."
It also appears that the program treats all schools the same, whether or not they serve students with disabilities, mental health problems, or have alternative education programs, as stated by the USBA.
According to SB 271, "a school’s grade shall be based on the proficiency of a school’s students in language arts, mathematics, and science as measured by statewide assessments."
The letter grades issued in Summit County’s three school districts Park City, North Summit and South Summit are listed below.
The Park City School District received an A, 5 Bs and a C. Jeremy Ranch Elementary received the only A in the district, while Parley’s Park Elementary, Trailside Elementary, Ecker Hill Middle School, Treasure Mountain Junior High, and Park City High School all received a B and McPolin Elementary received a C.
Greg Proffit, Principal at McPolin Elementary believes that it is unfortunate that this label will now be attached to who he calls wonderful teachers, great families and excellent students at McPolin.
"Constant improvement is our mantra," said Proffit. "That is not reflected by this letter grade system, which was created by legislators and not educators."
Both North Summit and South Summit’s school districts received an A, a B and a C. North Summit and South Summit’s middle schools received As, North Summit High School and South Summit Elementary received Bs, and North Summit Elementary and South Summit High School received Cs.
In the press release from the USBA, it says that there is currently no plan from the Legislature to help schools who receive poor grades. In fact, "the Utah legislature significantly decreased funding for at-risk and accelerated students the past few years."