Office of Education

School Accountability
A-F School Accountability System

The A-F Accountability System is designed to empower schools  to achieve and increase student success in Arizona. It provides schools with feedback on what areas they are excelling and  in what areas they may need to focus on. It is a tool to help  schools improve, parents to better understand what school is  best for their child with empowering quantitative information  when making school choices, and to help the state, policy  makers and community leaders identify which schools are in  need of support and how to better prioritize resources.

A-F system
A-F system

Click here to see a list of FAQs

Click here to find out more about the new A-F Accountability System

2017-2018 A-F Letter Grades Released
October 5, 2018

The number of schools rated A rose in the 2017-2018 school year, establishing themselves as pacesetters in Arizona’s push for higher academic performance.

The Arizona Department of Education released the A-F Letter Grades for the 2017-18 school year at the direction of the State Board of Education.

27.67 percent of K-8 schools and 22.69 percent of high schools earned As. That is up from 19.74 percent and 19.33 percent, respectively, in the 2016-2017 school year.

“We set the A level to recognize distinguished academic performance that is significantly higher than the state average,” said Board of Education President Luke Narducci. “We wanted the bar to be high enough that principals, teachers and students would have something to strive for. I’m delighted to see that academic achievement is increasing.”


A-F Letter Grades Release Timeline
September 24, 2018

The State Board of Education approved the timeline for the release of the 2017-2018 AF Letter Grades.

The Arizona Department of Education will calculate letter grades using school data and the approved cut scores (see below), create the file for the public, check for accuracy and then release to schools and the public simultaneously. To ensure a complete and accurate release of letter grades, this work may require up to two weeks.

Once letter grades are released, schools will have until October 25th to submit an appeal to the Board. Grounds for an appeal include environmental issues or events, adverse testing conditions, a school or community emergency, a school tragedy, other similar substantive events or incorrect data.

Below is the complete timeline for 2017-2018 A-F letter grades: 

September 24: Board sets cut scores for 2017-2018
October 5: Deadline for ADE to release 2017-2018 A-F Letter Grades to schools and the public simultaneously
October 5 (or earlier if ADE releases before October 5 deadline) - October 25: Appeal window opens for schools to appeal their letter grade
October 25: Appeals window closes at 5:00 PM.
November 19: A-F Appeals Committee reviews appeals and issues recommendations to the Board
December 3: Board considers A-F Appeals Committee's recommendations

(Read More...)

A-F Accountability: New Schools
June 25, 2018

New schools create a unique challenge for the A-F Accountability System. Some measures in the system are based on year over year growth and new schools do not have prior year of data to make this calculation possible. Additionally, new high schools usually do not open with a 12th grade so they do not have access to graduation rate points or College and Career Readiness points. As a result, many new schools do not have access to all of the points in the A-F Accountability System. As a result, the Board voted to provide a one-year hiatus to new schools in their first year of operation. This means for the 2017-2018 A-F Letter Grades and moving forward, schools that are in their first year of operation will not receive a letter grade. Schools in their second year of operation, and beyond, will receive a letter grade. (Read More...)

2018-2019 Alternative School A-F Accountability
June 25, 2018

The State Board of Education is seeking public comment on the draft Alternative School A-F Accountability Plan. The draft plan can be viewed here and public comment can be submitted to the Board’s inbox at [email protected].

Finalize 2017-2018 A-F Accountability Plan
May 21, 2018

After reviewing public comment and available data, the Board finalized the A-F Accountability Plan for the 2017-2018 School Year. In line with its intentions when the new system was adopted in April 2017, the Board studied enhancements to the system that maintain consistency in the expectations for schools and students.

Changes to the Accountability System include the following:

Lowering the minimum student number count (n-count) from 20 students to 10 students for all indicators;
In the growth calculation, awarding 1.0 points to students who achieve average/expected growth (previously these points were tiered based on the student’s prior achievement level);
Moving Science out of the proficiency calculation to comply with federal requirements and instead award up to three bonus points for schools that are above the statewide average; and
Establishing confidence intervals for the calculation of chronic absenteeism and 3rd grade English language arts.

Schools will have the opportunity to review their data in the summer. The Arizona Department of Education is scheduled to release 2017-2018 A-F Letter Grades in the fall. (Read More...)

2016-2017 A-F Letter Grades Released
April 23, 2018

The Board released 2016-2017 A-F Letter Grades on Monday. To view the 2016-2017 AF letter grades please go to the Board’s website and click on the spreadsheet. Additional information on A-F Letter Grades can be found in the tab at the bottom of the page labeled “A-F Toolkit”.

2017-2018 A-F Letter Grades
April 23, 2018

In response to public comment and changes required pursuant to federal law, the Board has modeled several changes to the 2017-2018 A-F Accountability System and has put them out for public comment. To review the proposed changes, click here and go to Item #5B.

To comply with federal law, the proposed changes include: 1) moving AIMS Science proficiency out of the Proficiency Indicator and include it as a bonus point(s) instead; 2) including all seniors not just graduating seniors in the College and Career Readiness Indicator; and 3) modifying the A-F System to account for the requirement for 95% tested.

Based on public feedback, the Board is investigating the following: 1) lowering the n-count (the minimum number of students necessary to include data in the letter grade calculation); 2) modifying the weights within the growth indicator; and 3) establishing confidence intervals for chronic absenteeism and English language learner proficiency.

As with the development of the 2016-2017 A-F Accountability System, public comment plays a crucial role in the Board’s decisions regarding the 2017-2018 A-F Accountability System. Public comment can be provided at [email protected] with the subject line: “Public Comment – A-F”.

The Board plans to take action on the 2017-2018 Accountability System based on additional modeling and public feedback at the May 21, 2018 Board meeting. (Read More...)

State Board of Education sets 'cut scores' for letter grades
April 23, 2018

The Arizona State Board of Education (SBE) today set “cut scores” for school letter grades for the 2016-2017 school year.

The cut scores set the number of points a school must earn to be graded A, B, C, D and F. Points are based on student academic growth from year to year, scores on the AzMERIT assessment, indicators that a student is ready for success at the next level and high school graduation rates.

The cut score to earn an A was set at 84.67 percent for K-8 schools and 83.83 percent for high schools and schools with a nontypical configuration of grades.

(Read More...)

State Board of Education Finalizes A-F Accountability System
September 25, 2017

Today, the Arizona State Board of Education finalized the A-F Accountability System and later this week, the Arizona Department of Education will award letter grades to schools based on a range of academic measures. The letter grades measure achievement in the 2016-2017 school year as a tool to help schools improve, parents to better understand which school is best for their child, and the state to know where more support can be given.

“Arizona’s new transparent A-F system has clear objectives and metrics that focus less on the results of one test, but place a greater emphasis on student growth,” explained Tim Carter, President of the Arizona State Board of Education. “It was developed by educators and business leaders that understand the needs of Arizona’s schools and want to empower teachers and students in our state.”

Read the full press release here.

State Board of Education Adopts A-F School Accountability Plan
April 26, 2017

After a two year hiatus allowing for a transition to higher academic standards and a new assessment, the State Board of Education adopted a new A-F School Accountability plan effective for the 2016-2017 school year. The new plan adopted by the Board complies with the requirements of A.R.S. §15-241 and the accountability provisions of ESSA, while recognizing the opportunity to measure the quality of a school and its effectiveness across a broader range of measures than in the past.

The K-8 plan provides for multiple indicators weighted as follows: proficiency at 30%, growth at 50%, English Language Learners’ growth and proficiency at 10% and acceleration/readiness at 10%. The 9-12 plan provides for multiple indicators weighted as follows: proficiency at 30%, growth at 20%, English Language Learners’ growth and proficiency at 10%, graduation rate at 20% and college and career readiness at 20%. These indicators also include multiple measures of student performance. The attached tables detail the indicators and measures.

To aid in the effort, the State Board of Education appointed an ad hoc committee, consisting of 13 members from a wide range of stakeholders, including Board members, superintendents, teachers, parents, educational policy advocates, a charter school representative, and a representative from the Governor’s office. In connection with its recommendations made to the Board, the committee identified the following purposes in adopting an A-F School Accountability Plan 1) fairness and equity; 2) student‐level focus; 3) transparency, ease of understanding, and ease of communication; and 4) incentives to action.

The Accountability Advisory Group (AAG), facilitated by the Arizona Department of Education, also provided technical assistance to the committee and recommendations. The AAG consisted of assessment, accountability and data administrators from a variety of LEAs, charter schools and the Arizona Charter Schools Association. In addition, the State Board of Education facilitated 17 public hearings across the state and collected nearly 1700 survey responses from the public.
In adopting the new A-F School Accountability plan effective for the 2016-2017 school year, the State Board of Education indicated that it will engage in a timely review of the impacts of the adopted plan.

Click here to see the final A-F Plan.

To find out more about A-F School Letter Grades, please visit the Arizona State Board of Education's website.

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