School grading from a mom and education policy-maker's perspective

In 2012, the Alabama Legislature passed the School Performance Recognition Program Act and required the state, school systems, and individual schools be graded utilizing an A-F grading system.


A few weeks ago, the statewide score was released, and Alabama as a whole received a grade of "C." On February 1, officials released a second round of grades for all Alabama schools and districts. The grades are based upon the following five factors:  Academic Achievement (30%), Academic Growth (30%), Graduation Rate (20%), College and Career Readiness (10%), and Chronic Absenteeism (10%). 

Anytime a report is issued that does not produce positive results, there is a natural tendency to reject the review system. I fully understand that, and I am the first to say that there is absolutely no grading system that can be conceived as "perfect" for schools. Education is complex, and more importantly, schools and their districts are all different.  No single system can capture every factor or circumstance, but assessing student's academic growth, graduation rates, college and career readiness, and chronic absenteeism is a good start.

Mary Scott Hunter, State Senate