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### Unveiling of Updated A-F Grading System by State Superintendent Catherine Truitt

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt unveiled a revised A-F school grading system on Monday, aiming to replace the existing one predominantly reliant on students’ standardized test scores. The proposed system incorporates additional metrics such as “readiness” and “opportunity performance” alongside the current academic proficiency and progress measures in math, reading, and science.

During a presentation to the House Select Committee on Education Reform, state education officials emphasized that the new model offers enhanced insights into schools’ holistic support for students beyond just academic achievements. This increased transparency is intended to foster greater accountability within the education system.

Truitt expressed confidence in the new accountability model, highlighting its effectiveness in evaluating the quality of education provided by schools. She outlined plans to seek legislative approval for a three-year pilot program to test the revised grading system, with voluntary participation from schools in the initial phase.

Under the proposed model, schools would receive distinct letter grades for each of the four performance standards, diverging from the current practice of assigning a single grade based predominantly on test scores. Truitt underscored the limitations of the existing federal testing requirements, which she believes offer an incomplete representation of schools’ overall effectiveness in preparing students for post-graduation life.

The revised model defines “readiness” as the extent to which students are prepared for post-secondary endeavors, including college acceptance rates, military enlistment, and employment opportunities. On the other hand, “opportunity” factors in considerations like chronic absenteeism, school climate, and students’ engagement in extracurricular activities.

Notably, data on chronic absenteeism revealed concerning trends, with 31% of public school students in North Carolina being chronically absent during the 2021-22 school year, coinciding with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Truitt emphasized the importance of refining the accountability model before seeking additional funding to support underperforming schools effectively.

The current A-F model has faced criticism for its perceived inaccuracies and biases in evaluating educational outcomes in North Carolina. Truitt’s initiative to revamp the accountability system aims to provide a more comprehensive and equitable assessment framework that aligns with the state’s educational goals.

As discussions continue on the proposed changes, the focus remains on ensuring that the accountability model accurately reflects the realities of school performance and fosters tangible improvements in student outcomes, rather than merely appeasing stakeholders without substantive impact.