According to data released Monday by the state Department of Education nearly a third of Arizona's public schools received an "A" letter grade this year, which is 16 percent more than last year, in part because of improvements among the state's lowest performing students and those learning English.
Statewide, 38 schools went up by two letter grades. Twenty percent of schools improved their letter grade, 17 percent decreased and 63 percent maintained, according to the department.
Many parents use the grades as a way to gauge the success of their school. Annie Gilbert, who has two sons at Chandler Prep charter high school, said the letter grades are an important factor parents use when choosing a school.
"I know parents look for them, and to make sure their schools are doing a good job compared with other schools," Gilbert said.
School letter grades are largely based on student scores on the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards tests, given every April.