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An empirical test of Oklahoma’s A-F grades

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Published: 2016-01-11

Authors

Curt Matthew Adams

University of Oklahoma

Patrick B. Forysth

University of Oklahoma

Jordan K. Ware

University of Oklahoma

Mwarumba Mwavita

Oklahoma State University

Laura L. Barnes

Oklahoma State University

Jam Khojasteh

Oklahoma State University

Keywords: school accountability; A-F accountability grades; achievement equity; next-generation accountability

Abstract

Oklahoma is one of 16 states electing to use an A-F letter grade as an indicator of school quality. On the surface, letter grades are an attractive policy instrument for school improvement; they are seemingly clear, simple, and easy to interpret. Evidence, however, on the use of letter grades as an instrument to rank and improve schools is scant at best. We address the gap in the literature by using student test scores to evaluate the use of Oklahoma’s A-F grades as a school quality indicator. Achievement differences between letter grades were small and in most cases not statistically significant when student and school characteristics were held constant. School grades did not reveal large achievement gaps in the highest ranked schools. Additionally, free/reduced lunch and minority students in D and F schools outperformed peers in A and B schools. 

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Author Biographies

Curt Matthew Adams

University of Oklahoma

Curt Adams is the Linda Clarke Anderson Presidential Professor at the University of Oklahoma and co-director of the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy.

Patrick B. Forysth

University of Oklahoma

Patrick Forsyth is a professor of education at the University of Oklahoma and co-director of the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy.

Jordan K. Ware

University of Oklahoma

Jordan K. Ware is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Oklahoma with the Oklahoma Center for Education Policy.

 

Mwarumba Mwavita

Oklahoma State University

Mwarumba Mwavita is an assistant professor of Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics at Oklahoma State University and director of The Center for Educational Research and Evaluation.

Laura L. Barnes

Oklahoma State University

Laura L. Barnes is an associate professor of Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics at Oklahoma State University and a research scientist with The Center for Educational Research and Evaluation.

Jam Khojasteh

Oklahoma State University

Jam Khojasteh is an assistant professor of Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics at Oklahoma State University and a research scientist with The Center for Educational Research and Evaluation.

PDF

Published: 2016-01-11

How to Cite

Adams, C. M., Forysth, P. B., Ware, J. K., Mwavita, M., Barnes, L. L., & Khojasteh, J. (2016). An empirical test of Oklahoma’s A-F grades. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 4. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v24.2127