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State's grading system for schools harsher than others in Southeast, says Welsh

Kristen B. Morales

January 5, 2017

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A recent article on AJC.com focusing on Georgia's A-F grading system for schools highlighted issues with the system, including research by College of Education faculty member Richard O. Welsh.

The article, published Jan. 5 on Maureen Downey's Get Schooled blog, reports that school ratings suffer two flaws: They're either overly simplistic by ignoring demographics or socioeconomic factors, or very complex by incorporating information such as attendance and perceptions. Downey also cites research recently done by Welsh comparing Georgia's grading system compared with the two other Southeastern states that use A-F grades.

"Overall, it appears that Georgia has a harsher grading scale than other Southeastern states," he writes in a report presented in November to the Georgia Department of Education. "Overall, states generally place emphasis on growth at the elementary level, whereas proficiency and other indicators to gauge college and career readiness play a larger role in high schools; however, Georgia uses uniform achievement and growth weights across grade levels. Georgia's use of achievement gap and bonus points warrants further consideration."

Welsh is an assistant professor in the department of lifelong education, administration, and policy.

Read the full story on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website.