Board of Education approves A-F school accountability grades

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Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 26, 2016) – The final A-F accountability grades are in for Indiana schools after the Board of Education voted to approve them Tuesday morning.

Here’s the breakdown for 2015 according to the state:

  • 1,179 “A” grades
  • 404 “B” grades
  • 307 “C” grades
  • 129 “D” grades
  • 55 “F” grades

You can find the 2014-2015 School Accountability Grades right here (file is in Microsoft Excel format).

The grades are up from last year, but it’s important to note that legislation passed this session prevented schools from being penalized for poor ISTEP scores. As a result, schools could earn an improved grade or stay the same as last year but couldn’t see their accountability grade drop. Lawmakers said the change was needed because more rigorous standards led to a sharp drop in ISTEP scores statewide.

The release of the A-F grades was delayed to make sure that new legislation was in play. Other factors weighing into the final score include student growth from year to year and participation rates. Also, high school graduation rates figure into scores, as well as the percentage of students who passed AP exams and received dual college credit or industry certification.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz released a statement about the grades:

"After more than 18 months spent advocating to hold our schools and teachers harmless for the transition to more rigorous college and career ready standards and the results of a more rigorous ISTEP+ assessment, I am pleased to release 2015 school accountability grades that do not penalize schools and communities for this transition.  I want to thank Indiana’s students, educators, and families for their hard work and patience during this challenging school year.

“While I appreciate the work of the legislature to hold schools harmless for the results of last year’s ISTEP+ assessment, Indiana should move away from labeling Hoosier schools, and in turn Hoosier students, based on the results of a lengthy, pass/fail, high-stakes assessment.  I support accountability but I support accountability that makes sense.  I look forward to implementing Indiana’s new Student-Centered Accountability System which more accurately reflects the great work happening in our schools and communities every day.”

“Regardless of the grade, the grade was to make sure we were assigning a grade to continue accountability and to make sure our data was going forward,” told reporters after the Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

“We do not put a lot of value in the school grades,” said Randy Zimmerly, Superintendent of the Westview School Corporation in northeastern Indiana.

Zimmerly spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting representing all the Superintendents in District 2, the northeastern district of the state. Zimmerly says the ranking system is meaningless. Rather than producing real results, it instead he says, tarnishes the reputation of schools and communities.

“Do away with this need to rank, this need to give schools grades, or give communities grades based on their schools, harming their ability to attract businesses, ability to attract people to their communities,” he said.

Every school in the Zionsville, Carmel Noblesville, Brownsburg, Avon, Plainfield, Greenwood, and Center Grove School Districts received across the board A ratings.

IPS, the largest school district in the state had 13 schools receive an A grade. 11 however received F grades.

For the 2016 test the state will consider ISTEP scores less and will look at the individual performance of each student to give schools their grades.

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