Should we grade schools and school districts?

I’m a senior nearing the end of high school. If there’s benefits to grading students, wouldn’t there be benefits for schools? Things making up grades could be state and national tests, graduation rates, etc. If grades are bad for schools should students receive grades?

Written Mar 14

Parent here.

 

We already grade schools (and therefore school districts).

But isn’t grading of schools a double-edged sword? It is my experience that we tend to place most emphasis on those things we are tested on. In the case of school testing, that means that schools will focus on doing well in the tests.

But how do we determine if we are focused on the correct topics? Who determines the types of tests to be administered.

This type of standardized grading of schools and school districts therefore leads to “teaching to the test”. I am personally aware of a local school that shut down the normal curriculum for several weeks to “prepare” the students for the upcoming standardized tests. I have heard, anecdotally, that this has routinely been occurring in other schools.

As a parent, I would prefer to have my child’s learning be a dialog between our family and our child’s teachers, with support from the school and district only when necessary. I prefer to have my school provide learning opportunities that are the result of a dialog within our community (rather than at the state and federal level). I do agree that there are certain basic necessary components of an education (such as math, reading, writing), but I am willing to trust our teachers to ensure that our children will learn those things (and much more).

Lastly, I question the value of “school” testing. From what I have read, my understanding is that the school’s grades are more a result of the makeup of the student body than the performance of the school itself, and that the socioeconomic status of the student body is by far the greatest predictor of test results (I recognize that this is a general statement – and that there will always be exceptions).