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W-VA Department of Education to Audit State's Schools

Charleston Daily Mail (WV) (01/16/14) Burdette, Whitney

The West Virginia Department of Education will dispatch a team in the coming months to audit each of the state's public schools to determine where they fall in the A-F grading system. The new grading system will be implemented in the fall, and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Phares says schools are currently placed into five categories: reward, success, transition, focus, and priority. He warns that the new and old systems are not equivalent, noting that a school that ranks highly in one system will not necessarily be an A in the new system. The new system aims to enable schools to share best practices and use those practice to improve. "When (team members) go into an A school, the team will have some things they can share with an F school -- these are some best practices. We're trying to get away from the 'gotcha' mark," he notes. Moreover, students will be held accountable for their performance, with students taking end-of-course exams to determine their success in a course. Their scores on the exam would then be calculated into their overall grades for the course. "I do know our teachers have asked for that for years - let's hold students accountable for their performance," Phares says. "This is a way to do that."
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