By James Polston
INDIANAPOLIS—Nearly one in four Indiana schools showed improvement in the 2017-18 academic year over the prior year, the Indiana Department of Education reported Wednesday.
IDOE released its school accountability grades that also showed nearly two out of three schools throughout the state scored an A or B letter grade on the department’s A-F scale.
“Our current accountability grades are an indication of the great education Indiana students are receiving,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick in a press release after the grades were made public.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick. Photo by Adrianna Pitrelli, TheStatehouseFile.com
“Our work is paying off and as a Department we will continue to partner with dedicated stakeholders to ensure every school and every student is successful.”
The state’s first accountability system went into effect in 2001 after the Indiana General Assembly passed a law in 1999 to create a performance-based system of measuring schools.
In 2015, the State Board of Education established new metrics for Indiana’s student-centered accountability system that include measures for how much students improve year over year as well as the number who graduate within four years. Current metrics went into effect in the 2015-2016 school year.
About 9 percent of schools improved their letter grade to an A, with close to 29 percent of schools overall receiving an A for the 2017-18 school year.
The grades are a snapshot of the great teaching and learning going on in Indiana’s schools, said J.T. Coopman, executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.
“IAPSS wants to thank all Indiana public school teachers and administrators for the tremendous work they do on behalf of Indiana’s 1.1 million public school students in 289 public school districts in Indiana,” Coopman said.
The data show that nearly 56 percent of school grades were unchanged from the 2016-17 school year with about 21 percent of schools receiving a lower grade over the same period.
In the current year, 14.5 percent of schools received a D or F in school accountability grades, with 4.5 percent of schools receiving an F.
McCormick’s office also released federal accountability grades, which are based on different standards, for the 2017-18 school year.
Nearly 67 percent of public schools received the same letter grade for both state and federal accountability systems, with about 31 percent of schools receiving a higher letter grade on the state system.
Differences in performance metrics between the two systems were the main factor for discrepancies for 33 percent of school letter grades, according to the IDOE.
School accountability grades can be found on the IDOE website at this link.
James Polston is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.