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Bill tweaking school grading passes

Published March 13, 2014 10:30 pm

Fixes • Includes not giving an F for having too few kids tested.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A bill tweaking how the state give letter grades to schools based on year-end testing and graduation rates is headed to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

The House passed SB209 on 62-12 vote Thursday, and the Senate concurred in amendments it made to give the bill final passage.

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.

In earlier debate, 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, sponsor of the bill, also has said it will 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.