In early October, the Arizona Board of Education presented its preliminary grades for the state’s schools, which assesses schools on an A to F scale in an effort to promote accountability and growth.
Sedona Charter School earned a B, which, according to the board’s website, means the school has “high performance on statewide assessment and/or significant student growth.”
“We are proud of our B, because it reflects the hard work our staff and students put into mastering the state standards in reading, writing and math,” said Alice Madar, director of finance and administration for Sedona Charter School. “We believe it is important for our students to know how to study hard and test well. However, we want our students to become much more than just good test takers. We focus on the whole child .... Our goal is to lay the groundwork for our students to grow into happy, successful adults. By focusing on that goal, we find that our students generally do well on standardized tests.”
The Board of Education transitioned this year to a new grading system, which is based primarily on the results of AzMERIT, the standardized achievement test Arizona schools started using in 2014. At the kindergarten through eighth grade level, 50 percent of a school’s grade is based on AzMERIT scores, while 30 percent is based on how much students improved on those scores in the past three years.
The other 20 percent awards points based on acceleration and readiness — including factors like attendance — and the proficiency of a school’s English language learning students.
“There are so many different ways to look at a school, and every family has different needs and preferences,” Madar said. “A school’s ability to answer many of those needs cannot be measured in any way on a standardized test.
However, we do like the new system better than the old letter grading system, because this one emphasizes academic growth rather than innate academic talent.”