For Immediate Release – November 21, 2013
Office of the Governor
Contact: Taylor Thornley Keeney
Virginia Department of Education
Contact: Charles B. Pyle
State Board of Education Approves A-F School Grading System
RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell announced that the Virginia Board of Education today unanimously approved an A-F grading system that will assign letter grades to schools based on the percentages of students demonstrating proficiency, academic growth and college and career readiness. Initial letter grades will be announced at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year and will accompany school accreditation ratings.
Governor Bob McDonnell proposed an A-F school grading system as part of his ALL STUDENTS 2013 education agenda. The 2013 General Assembly subsequently approved House Bill 1999 and Senate Bill 1207 – sponsored by Del. Thomas A. Greason, R-Loudoun County, and Sen. William M. Stanley Jr., R-Franklin County, respectively – directing the state Board of Education to create an A-F scale based on performance, state and federal accountability standards and student growth indicators.
“I want to thank Secretary of Education Javaid Siddiqi, former Secretary of Education Laura Fornash, the Department of Education and the Board of Education for the thoughtful approach that they have taken in implementing this legislation to provide parents with a better understanding of school performance,” Governor McDonnell said. “I also want to commend the General Assembly for supporting this commonsense reform to bring accountability and transparency to Virginia public schools. The A-F grading system relies on criteria that will capture a school’s overall performance and growth, college and career readiness, and the success of schools in raising achievement of their lowest-performing students. The new grading system will better enable us to track school performance and improve education for all Virginia students by utilizing an easy to understand and familiar format.”
“In implementing the legislation, the state board struck what I believe is an appropriate balance between maintaining high expectations for all children and recognizing the successes of schools that serve students who face significant challenges,” Secretary of Education Javaid Siddiqi said.
Under the system adopted by the board, 50 percent of the grade of an elementary or middle school will be based on overall proficiency in English, mathematics, science and history/social science; 25 percent on overall growth in English and mathematics; and 25 percent on growth in English and mathematics among the school’s lowest-performing students. Elementary and middle schools also can earn a capped number of bonus points based on the percentage of students earning advanced scores on Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in the four core content areas and for meeting all federal accountability benchmarks. The A-F grading system was developed after months of thoughtful consideration and research as well as significant input from stakeholders, including parents, educators, school and community leaders.
For high schools, 33 percent of the grade will be based on overall proficiency in English, mathematics, science and history/social science; 25 percent will be based on indicators of college and career readiness, such as graduation rates, college credits earned and completion of advanced career and technical education (CTE) programs; eight percent will be based on participation in dual-credit courses and board-approved CTE assessments; 17 percent will be based on growth toward college and career readiness; and 17 percent will be based on growth toward college and career readiness among students at risk of not graduating. High schools also can earn a capped number of bonus points based on advanced performance on SOL assessments and for meeting all federal accountability goals.