A group of scholars in Oklahoma have reviewed the state’s simplistic A-F report cards for schools and proposed a better way to look at school effectiveness. The Tulsa World provided a link so perhaps many people in the state will see it.
Jeb Bush pioneered this grading system on Florida. It puts far too much emphasis on test scores.
Three worthy parts of the review:
1. The fact that these scholars did this report matters
2. Good bibliography
“The work of schools and school leaders might be compared to gardening, that is, tending to the growth of a great variety of life. Gardeners are not preoccupied only with the harvest alone. They bring to bear all kinds of knowledge, skill, and information, adjusting what they do constantly to enrich the environment of the garden, providing nurture and protection from everything that might harm it. Gardeners know that the harvest at hand is important, but that care for soil conditions, monitoring surrounding vegetation, and assuring availability of supplementary water and fertilizer are just as important; future harvests will benefit from the enhanced general conditions of the garden. The metaphor suggests that accountability in schools cannot be defined in the same way quality assurance is attained in manufacturing. Schooling more resembles what Thomson (1967) calls an intensive technology, in which the processing of nonstandard raw material relies on constant response to new information. The metaphor and the theory both point to accountability for process elements and capacity building as well as outcomes; a focus on outcomes alone would not adequately serve the complexities of schooling or the long-term goals of our society. The collaboration among Oklahoma’s education stakeholders could benefit by a metaphor that reminds us of the importance a long- term perspective has for effective school improvement.”