Utah schools get first letter grades

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

State lawmakers who passed the accountability system earlier this year — now one of two used to evaluate Utah schools — said it will improve the quality of education.

As an example, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, pointed to West High School, which received an automatic F grade because it did not have a 95 percent participation rate in testing. Regardless, he said, the school would have gotten a D grade because of its poor performance.

The Salt Lake City high school is known in part for its International Baccalaureate program for students with strong academic skills. But Niederhauser notes its graduation rate, which was 72 percent in 2012, but lower for some subgroups of minority and lower-income students.

"They’re failing a huge population of their students," Niederhauser said. "...The IB program is a beautiful paint job covering up some pretty big problems."

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