Some school administrators were quick to criticize the grading system before the fact. Some said the results didn’t mean anything because they knew better; they said they did a good job and the whole thing was a joke.
It was similar to the line parents often hear from their children when rationalizing a lousy grade on their report card. Or, to soften the blow of the grade before the fact with assertions that the grading system is flawed or the teacher has a problem.
There was a bit of irony in the fact that a considerable number of school administrators were sensitive to being “graded” when they grade students every day. After all, their very measuring stick of accountability is based on a system of grading.
On the other side of the fence were school officials like those in Camp Verde. Whether the Arizona LEARNS grade was good, bad or downright ugly, the consistent message from the Camp Verde School District was that its schools would use the program as a catalyst for improvement.
Those school officials are holding true to their word. Camp Verde Middle School, for example, was one of 275 schools statewide to receive a less-than-desirable “underperforming” label, as opposed to the grades of excelling, improving or maintaining.
CVMS Principal Mike Taylor announced this week that the recent Stanford 9 test scores were markedly better than last year’s results. Out of the nine measurements, the school improved by at least 3 percentage points in seven out of nine areas.
It’s doubtful Arizona LEARNS has a measuring stick for character in its grading of the state’s schools. Too bad, because if they did the Camp Verde school system would certainly deserve an “A.” Camp Verde school officials accepted the “underperforming” label for CVMS in the same manner they instruct their students who receive a bad grade.
When you don’t measure up, you buckle down, work hard and correct the problem.
They obviously are well on their way to doing exactly that.