Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill on Monday that will suspend the use of a letter grade system for schools statewide, due to how disrupted this school year has been by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
'Today I signed House Bill 2402, which ensures that students continue to be evaluated, so the State can ensure continued accountability in our education system, while also recognizing this year is unique and therefore provides some flexibility around the state's A-F letter grade system for school,' Ducey wrote in the executive order.
Ducey also called on Arizona's Board of Education to conduct a statewide assessment to see how significant the learning loss among students has been.
Students in Arizona are scheduled to take their AZMerit2 (AZM2) exams in April to assess academic proficiency. The tests were canceled in 2020 because school buildings were already closed.
'The Arizona State Board of Education shall utilize AZM2 (AZMerit) assessment data, and other assessment or academic data, for this school year to draw comparisons to prior years and identify the extent of learning loss that has occurred,' the executive order states.
'Getting kids caught up and on track needs to be a top focus of ours,' Ducey wrote in a February 15 letter to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
'This will ensure we continue to have accountability in our education system, so parents can make the best educational choice for their kids,' he added.
Correction: This story and headline have been updated to reflect that Arizona schools will do away with letter grades for the system's schools. Letter grades will still be used to assess the students' individual performance, according to the governor's office.