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A-F rating system approved for Arkansas schools

Stuttgart Daily Leader
October 10, 2014

By Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. —Most Arkansas public schools will soon be graded in much the same way as students.

The Arkansas Board of Education on Thursday approved a new A-through-F rating system that will replace the older practice of rating schools on a 1-to-5 scale. Schools won't be penalized or rewarded based on their results, and grades won't be applied to alternative learning education centers.

A 2013 law required the letter grades, which are meant to be easier for parents to understand, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported ( ).

The Education Board approved an emergency set of letter-grade rules that will become effective after they're sent to the Arkansas secretary of state's office. They also approved an identical set of what are considered to be more permanent rules to go to the Legislative Council for a final review.

Education Commissioner Tony Wood said the grades will be announced in late November or early December, which is near the same time the state's education department completes its annual school achievement report. It lists which schools met or failed to meet their yearly achievement goals on the state tests.

Officials say grades will be based in part on last spring's Benchmark and End-of-Course state test results. The A-through-F rating system can only be used once before it will have to be significantly changed. 

The state exams are being replaced this school year with a new testing system, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams.

At least 14 other states use the A-through-F rating system, including Florida, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma, according to the Denver-based Education Commission of the States.

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