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Senate passes bill to tweak school grading

Published March 6, 2014 3:58 pm

Several changes • Schools that do not test enough students would escape automatic F.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.