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School Grades: CSD Celebrates Academic Gains

  • Post category:General News
  • Post last modified:September 15, 2016

A majority of Canyons District schools, 71 percent, received an A or B this year under Utah’s school grading system, even with last-minute changes to the way the grades were calculated.

Had the grading scale not been redrawn, 81 percent of Canyons’ schools would have received a B or higher–and the number of schools to receive an A would have doubled from 2015 to 2016. The recalculation affected 43 percent of CSD’s schools.

Teachers and school administrators should be proud of their performance this year, said Hal Sanderson, Ph.D., Director of Research and Assessment. “The grades fail to reflect that most schools’ test scores have risen in English language arts, math and science. So, even if a school’s test scores rose, its grade may have dropped because the target changed. No matter where one chooses to draw the line for an A or B, Canyons District’s achievement is headed in the right direction.”

By law, when two-thirds of Utah schools earn an A or B, the Utah State Office of Education must raise by 5 percentage points the cut-off score required for each letter grade. Each school’s grade, which can be found here, is primarily based on year-end test scores. Schools are awarded points for students who meet grade-level benchmarks and for students who show substantial growth. Additionally factoring into high school grades are graduation rates and ACT scores.

Utah’s school grading system was established by the Legislature, and the first grades to be published were for the 2012-13 school year. Since then, CSD schools have significantly improved, largely driven by a steady rise in SAGE scores, says Sanderson, who attributes the improvement to the implementation of team teaching methods at middle schools and evidenced-based interventions for struggling students.