Do Voters Want an A-F Rating for Schools? The Answer is Complicated

Morgan Polikoff & Kate Kennedy:

California is nothing if not a rebel. While more than 40 states have chosen to give schools summative/overall ratings in their new accountability systems, California is bucking that trend.

These overall grades—often on an A-F (e.g., Alabama, Florida, North Carolina), 0-100 (e.g., Connecticut, Wisconsin), or 1-5 (e.g., Oregon) scale—are intended to offer parents and other stakeholders a clear evaluation of school performance. An A-F rating, for example, might aggregate academic measures (e.g., reading and math test scores) with nonacademic factors, such as suspension and absenteeism rates. (Examples of states’ report cards, including California’s Dashboard, are presented throughout this post.)