Instead of a single grade — given to Utah schools for the past five years — new annual report cards released Thursday rank them on achievement and growth, the progress of their English learners and, for high schools, how well they prepare students for continuing education.

Rankings for achievement, growth and English learners are based on various test results. High schools receive a fourth ranking, based on their ACT scores, high school graduation rate and certain coursework, such as the percentage of students taking Advanced Placement classes.

Already, teachers and administrators are heralding the new system, which uses five terms in place of grades: exemplary, commendable, typical, developing or critical needs. (Scroll down for rankings of Salt Lake County and charter high schools.)

“This gives us a more in-depth glimpse into what’s going on,” said Scott Wihongi, principal of Murray High School. Last year, it earned an F; this year, it was ranked as commendable for its achievement and growth, developing in its support of English learners and exemplary for its students’ postsecondary readiness.

“It’s so much better than grades,” said Linda Hansen, a member of the State Board of Education, which released the new assessments.

Heidi Matthews, president of the Utah Education Association, said the new report cards better highlight where schools need resources.

“The report cards are a vast improvement over previous accountability reports that focused on punitive and shortsighted single A though F letter grades,” said Matthews, leader of the state’s largest teacher union, in a statement.

The Utah Legislature still defines the new terms as essentially equal to A through F grades, with exemplary akin to an A and critical needs as an F.

In 2017, lawmakers granted the state Board of Education a yearlong reprieve from the single letter grades, allowing the board time to develop this new assessment model and new standardized testing for the scores it’s based on.

Next year, schools will receive the same four rankings — but the system will return to also providing a single overall ranking. By statute, an exemplary school will be an “A” school.

The new multiple rankings over the four categories provide more insight now. For example, Cyprus High School in the Granite School District received grades of C, C, and D in the past three years.

In the new system, it was ranked as developing in achievement and in the progress of its English language learners; typical in growth; and commendable for its students' postsecondary readiness.

Rob McDaniel, principal of Cyprus, said the new system shows him where his school is excelling and where it can improve. Graduation rates have improved, but services for non-native English speakers, he added, need more resources.

“To break it down into one letter grade doesn’t give a fair reflection of what we are as a school," he said. "This system is much better.”

Cyprus High School received 107 of the 225 points available for high schools (elementary and middle schools can earn 150 points). When McDaniel started there five years ago, the school was rated at an F. Collectively, it would still be at a D this year in the old rating system. But now McDaniel said he knows what to do to change things.

In each of the four categories, a school can place as exemplary (scoring roughly in the top quarter statewide), commendable (top third), typical (top half), developing (bottom third) and critical needs (bottom quarter). Here’s how schools are scored:

• Achievement, worth up to 56 points: This is based on students' scores on state-issued standardized tests.

• Growth, 81 points: Points come from how well students meet grade-level expectations on English, math and science tests. Additional points are awarded based on the growth of scores among the lowest 25 percent of students.

• English learner progress, 13 points: This rating is based on how well students who are non-native English speakers reach proficiency for their age.

• For high schools, postsecondary readiness, 75 points: This is determined by ACT scores, graduation and college-level coursework, such as the percentage of students taking Advanced Placement classes.

Darin Nielsen, assistant superintendent of student achievement for the state board, said so far, the feedback has been positive on the new system, developed over the past 18 months with input from teachers and community members.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson added that she hopes parents will take the time to “look more deeply” into the performance of their child’s school, with the data for all 951 traditional and charter public schools at utahschoolgrades.schools.utah.gov.

Because the state board didn’t calculate a single letter grade for schools, it’s difficult to directly assess which schools and districts improved from last year when, statewide, 74 schools received an A grade and 47 received an F.

The board did rank all of the schools by total points earned, though, and the Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science, a charter in Layton, took the top spot. It collected about 87 percent of the points available to it. Navajo Mountain High School in San Juan County fell to the bottom, collecting about 14 percent.

This year, as with any bell curve system, most schools saw rankings of typical, which sits in the middle.

Eastlake Elementary School in Jordan School District was, for instance, rated typical in growth. But it ranked commendable for achievement and English learner progress.

“It’s going to be an adjustment, but for the most part our teachers are happy to have some more details,” said Assistant Principal Kristie Howe. “We’re eager to go forward with it.”

West Jordan Middle School Principal Dixie Garrison said she’s impressed with the system and that it plays into her larger plans to eliminate letter grades for students, too. The school has started issuing supplementary explanations with its report cards to explain performance beyond the A or B that appears on the paper.

Some students don’t test well, she said, and that should be taken into account. Every student, she said, learns at a different pace. All students come from different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

“A school is so much more than [a single grade], too,” she said. “It’s an experience. It’s a community.”

Below is a list of the new rankings of Salt Lake County high schools and charter schools statewide, with their rankings followed by their grades for 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Find full results at utahschoolgrades.schools.utah.gov.

Canyons School District

  • Alta High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, B, B, B, B in 2017
  • Brighton High — Achievement: Commendable. Growth: Typical. English learners: Typical. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, B, B, B, B in 2017 
  • Corner Canyon High — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: n/a, n/a, B, B, B in 2017 
  • Hillcrest High — Achievement:  Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, B, C, C, D in 2017 
  • Jordan High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: C, C, C, C, D in 2017 

Granite School District

  • Cottonwood High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: D, D, C, F, F in 2017 
  • Cyprus High — Achievement: Developing.  Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: D, F, C, C, D in 2017 
  • Granger High — Achievement: Developing. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades : D, F, D, F, F in 2017 
  • Hunter High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Typical.  Past grades: D, F, C, D, C in 2017 
  • Kearns High — Achievement: Developing. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: F, D, F, F, F in 2017 
  • Olympus High — Achievement: Commendable. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, D, B, C, B in 2017 
  • Skyline High — Achievement: Commendable. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Past grades: B, B, A, B, B in 2017 
  • Taylorsville High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: D, D, C, D, C in 2017 

Jordan School District

  • Bingham High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Critical needs. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: C, B, B, C, C  in 2017 
  • Copper Hills High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Critical needs.   Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, B, B, D, D in 2017 
  • Herriman High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Developing. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: C, B, B, D, F in 2017 
  • Riverton High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Typical. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, B, B, B, B in 2017 
  • West Jordan High — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Critical needs. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: D, C, C, F, F in 2017 

Murray School District

  • Murray High — Achievement: Commendable Growth: Commendable English learners: Developing.  Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Past grades: B, B, B, C, F in 2017 

Salt Lake City School District

  • East High School — Achievement: Typical Growth: Typical English learners: Developing.  Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Earned 116 points out of 225. Past grades: D, C, C, C, F in 2017 
  • Highland High School — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Earned 123 points out of 225. Past grades: D, C, C, C, C in 2017 
  • West High School — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Earned 118 points out of 225. Past grades: F, C, D, D, C in 2017 

How Utah’s charter high schools fared*

  • Academy for Math, Engineering and Science (AMES) — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Exemplary. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: A, B, A, B, A in 2017. 
  • American Leadership Academy — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Developing. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, C, C, C, B in 2017. 
  • City Academy — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Critical needs. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: C, C, C, C, C in 2017.
  • DaVinci Academy — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Developing. Past grades: D, C, B, B, B in 2017.
  • InTech Collegiate High School — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Exemplary. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Past grades: A, A, A, A, A in 2017.
  • Itineris Early College High — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Commendable. Postsecondary readiness: Typical. Past grades: C, B, A, A, A in 2017.
  • Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: B, B, A, B, B in 2017.
  • Merit College Preparatory Academy — Achievement: Commendable. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Developing. Past grades: C, C, C, B, C in 2017.
  • Mountain Heights Academy — Achievement: Commendable. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Developing. Past grades: C, C, C, F, C in 2017.
  • Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science (NUAMES) — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Exemplary. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Past grades: A, A, A, A, A in 2017.
  • Pinnacle Canyon Academy — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Developing. Past grades: C, F, D, D, C in 2017.
  • Rockwell Charter High School — Achievement: Developing. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Critical needs. Past grades: C, D, C, D, D in 2017.
  • Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Commendable. Past grades: C, C, C, C, C in 2017.
  • Success Academy — Dixie State University — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Past grades: n/a, n/a, n/a, B, A in 2017.
  • Success Academy — Southern Utah University — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Commendable. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Exemplary. Past grades: n/a, A, A, A, B in 2017.
  • Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Critical needs. Past grades: B, C, B, C, C in 2017.
  • Utah County Academy of Science (UCAS) — Achievement: Exemplary. Growth: Exemplary. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Developing. Past grades: n/a, A, A, A, A in 2017.
  • Utah Virtual Academy — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Critical needs. Past grades: F, F, F, D, F in 2017.
  • Walden School of Liberal Arts — Achievement: Typical. Growth: Typical. English learners: Too few students to calculate. Postsecondary readiness: Developing. Past grades: B, B, C, C, B in 2017.

*Some charter schools did not receive grades in 2013, 2014 or 2015.