TPS Says State Report Cards Are Not Accurate

Emory Bryan, News on 6

The state released school report cards Thursday, and according to the reports, the vast majority of Tulsa schools have a failing grade; but the district said that's not accurate.

The school report cards say Hawthorne Elementary is a D- school, but the Tulsa measurement has it as a top performer, so we asked the superintendent how that is possible.

10/22/2015 Related Story: State Education Department Releases A-F Report Cards

All of Tulsa's school, like Hale High, have known the grades they received for a while, but the public release means parents have their yearly snapshot of how school are doing.

Hale was given an F, so was Hale Junior High; another F reflecting poor performance on the state test, which largely measures whether children are on grade level.

That, according to Superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist, is a key flaw of the system, and why TPS doesn't pay much attention to the state grades.

"The purpose behind a system like this is to give the school system, and the public, information about how the schools are doing. And these grades don't do that," Gist said.

The state grades largely reflect whether students are at milestones - on grade level at the proper time - and much less weight is given to year-to-year progress.

Tulsa Public Schools Report Cards

Schools with lots of Spanish speaking students, like Disney Elementary, often do poorly on reading tests because children are behind.

Disney got a state grade of D, and the nearby Cooper and McArthur elementaries got Fs. East Central High got a D-, and the Junior High got an F.

The state superintendent also discounts the value of the current grading system and is working to make it better reflect how schools are actually doing.

Tulsa has a new system, called Value Added. The district believes it is a more accurate measure.

Compare State Grades To Value Added Scores

It also shows some poor performing schools, but the list is very different than the A-F grades.

Gist said, "And so we know we have schools that are labeled failing schools, that, in fact, are making tremendous progress and great growth."

The state is retooling the report card system, so it's likely to be very different next year.

The report cards for all school districts in the state can be accessed in its website.