Senate passes bill to tweak school grading
Several changes • Schools that do not test enough students would escape automatic F.
Published: March 6, 2014 03:58PM
Updated: March 6, 2014 08:08PM

The Senate on Thursday advanced a bill to tweak how the state gives letter grades to public schools based on year-end testing and graduation rates

It voted 19-8 to pass SB209, and sent it to the House for further consideration.

A major change is that it would end the practice of giving schools an automatic F grade if they fail to test at least 95 percent of students.

Instead, it would drop them by one letter grade, such as from an A to a B.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Wood Cross, said Viewmont High School in his district would have received a B recently, but received an F because not enough students had been tested. He said the change provides a more reasonable way to judge schools.

Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said the bill will also exempt alternative high schools and new schools from grading, and would exclude students with severe disabilities from being included in a school’s graduation-rate calculation.

It also allows “combination schools” — which combine secondary and elementary education — to provide separate grades for each.

Adams said the changes were requested by schools.