Fewer than 300 Arizona district and charter schools got an “A” grade under the state’s new ranking system, according to data released Friday by the state Department of Education.

This year, 294 elementary and high schools received a coveted “A” ranking, 602 schools were graded a “B,” 535 sites earned a “C” and 204 schools were given a “D” grade.

Fifty-four schools earned the lowest mark, an “F,” and 149 schools were not yet rated by the state because either the data was not finalized or the school appealed the grade.

As the data currently stands, just under 16 percent of all grades issued to schools were A’s, slightly lower than the state’s previous prediction.

The rankings grade schools’ quality on an A-F scale and, for elementary schools, rely heavily on how well students performed on the state’s standardized test, AzMERIT.

AzMERIT test scores determine 90 percent of elementary schools’ grades.

MOBILE USERS: Click here to find you school’s score

The Arizona State Board of Education finalized the new letter-grade system in late September. The Arizona Department of Education, which is in charge of calculating and vetting the grades, had been directed by the education board not to publicly release the grades until Monday.

But the state apparently released the data in response to public-records requests from several local media outlets. 

Dan Godzich, state Department of Education spokesman, said in an email Friday that “that this is a file still being worked on and the file that will be released on October 9th will have differences.”

Standardized testing is less emphasized at the high-school level. Half of a school’s grade hinges on AzMERIT scores. Most of the rest of the grade depends on graduation rates and “college and career readiness indicators” aimed toward getting students prepared for college or vocational programs.

Under the new system, elementary schools will get an “A” grade if they get at least 86 percent of the possible points on the grading rubric.

A school will earn a “B” grade if it earns at least 74 percent of points, and a “C” grade if it gets at least 62 percent of points.

Search the schools’ grade below.

Check back at azcentral.com for more updates.


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