Alabama education officials are still reviewing a new law that establishes a statewide system for grading public schools and provides cash incentives to schools that improve their students' performance.
The bill, signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley on May 15, requires state Superintendent Tommy Bice to develop the school grading system and the incentive program by Dec. 31. Bice indicated in a statement last week that his office has begun the preliminary stages of development.
"We are currently reviewing the education-related legislation from the recently completed session and will be laying our implementation plans over the next few weeks," Bice said. "The legislation in question is one directly connected to our proposed new accountability plan, so the two will be developed together and reviewed by the state board in late summer."
The law requires that the grading system be based, at a minimum, on a school's student achievement scores, achievement gap, college and career readiness programs, learning gains and any other indicators that Bice determines affects student success.
Schools will be scored according to an A-B-C-D-F grading system, with excelling schools receiving an A grade and failing schools receiving an F. A C grade would indicate "satisfactory progress," the law states.
All grades will be provided to the public, including all parents, and posted online on the Department of Education's website.
The intention of the law is to implement the new system no later than the 2013-2014 academic year.