CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education voted Wednesday to waive the A-F school accountability ratings for the 2016-2017 school year.

The grading system was introduced in November 2016 following a 2014 request from then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Under the system, school performance of West Virginia public schools is based on how students performed on Smarter Balanced tests in math and English language arts.

The system has been criticized on whether or not it accurately grades schools; most institutions received a “C” last year because results were placed on a bell curve.

Gov. Jim Justice has called for dropping the system multiple times since taking office in January.

State Board of Education President Tom Campbell said the difference between two grades may not seem significant, but he is aware of its effects in one school system


West Virginia Board of Education President Tom Campbell

“One of the superintendents told me that he was trying to get a family to move a child from one attendance zone to the other from a ‘B’ to a ‘C,'” Campbell said. “He tried to explain to them there was not much difference.”

“They said, ‘Nope. Not going to a “C” school.'”

Campbell said schools still need accountability standards, which would be required by the 2017-2018 school year.

“They don’t need confusing accountability that causes them a lot of issues,” he said.

The standards would have to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

The board also approved a memorandum of understanding to return control of the Fayette County Schools system to the local school board. The state board voted Feb. 16 to return full control.

The state Board of Education took control of the system in 2010 following a performance audit.

Campbell, who was named board president Feb. 2, said he does not find school takeovers productive.

“I would prefer a support model,” he said.

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