Academic gains have been made in schools across the state with more earning letter grades of A, data released from the Arizona Department of Education Monday shows.
At the same time, fewer campuses earned grades of B’s, C’s and D’s when compared to last year.
In Pima County, however, the number of traditional, district schools earning A’s decreased slightly while the number of B, C and D schools remained about the same.
The two largest school districts — Tucson Unified School District and Sunnyside Unified School District — once again received lower marks than other Pima County districts, earning grades of C.
The letter grades are based on the weighting of student performance on the AIMS test and student academic growth from year to year, along with additional points awarded for high English language learner reclassifications, and significant reductions in dropout rates.
Four Southern Arizona school districts were named Top Districts by the state — Vail, Catalina Foothills, Tanque Verde and Benson. Last year, Benson edged out Vail as the state's toip-ranking school district. Vail earned the No. 2 slot that year.
This year, no schools were labeled failing as the Department of Education allows an appeals process to run its course.
Looking at all Arizona public schools, including charters, about 20 percent increased a letter grade, 63 percent maintained their grade and 17 percent decreased.
“The majority of Arizona schools are doing quite well,” said Arizona Schools Chief John Huppenthal. “Arizona’s schools are improving. In fact, we found over 20 percent (of) schools improved a letter grade over last year.”