Three-quarters of state high schools miss standards

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Three-quarters of Indiana's public high schools failed to meet state standards for academic improvement during the 2009-2010 school year, a figure the state's top education official said Tuesday shows schools are failing students once they reach high school.

The state Department of Education said 75 percent of Indiana's 385 public high schools are ranked in the bottom two rungs of the state's five-tier ranking system. Nearly half are on the lowest level — academic probation — and 20 schools in their fifth year of probation could face intervention or even state takeover.

"I think it is a huge number. And I think it is very concerning," state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett said.

The percentage of high schools on probation was up from 10 percent in 2008, the last year for which data were available due to a switch to spring standardized testing. Overall, the number of all schools on probation was 14 percent, the department said.

About 19 percent of Indiana's public schools fell into a lower category this year than in 2008. And about 42 percent moved into higher categories, while the rest stayed in the same tier.

While elementary and middle schools have shown improvement under the state's 11-year-old accountability system, high schools continue to decline, Bennett said. "We really begin to see serious declines in student performance at the high schools," he said.

Bennett said schools must figure out what they need to do to meet the needs of students once they reach high school and prepare them for college or work.

"We have to raise our level of expectations, we have to raise the rigor of instruction and we have to increase the relevance of instruction," Bennett said. "We are losing far too many students in these schools."

Jonathan Plucker, director of Indiana University's Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, said some of the dip in high school performance may have been due to changes in standardized testing procedures, including the switch to spring testing and basing high school results on algebra and English instead of a graduation exam. But, the decline from elementary to middle to high school was a national phenomenon. Federal data released last week showed a similar trend, he said.

"Improvement in high school is just proving to be so much harder," Plucker said. "Student performance tends to suffer as we go through the system."

No one knows whether the real cause is socioeconomic, cultural, lack of parental support or something else, he said.

Plucker said the country may need to rethink its whole approach to high school education.

"It's not getting better. It appears to be getting worse. We need to do something here," he said.

Bennett said he was prepared to make "strong recommendations" about intervening at high schools on probation if they don't improve by the end of the school year.

"The clock is ticking," Bennett said.

Meanwhile, the number of schools meeting federal progress standards under the No Child Left Behind law increased to 58 percent from 50 percent in 2008, with particularly strong gains among poor and minority students, according to results released by the state agency Tuesday. Bennett attributed part of those gains to the increased use of statistical and scoring data to drive instruction at elementary and middle schools.

The state rankings are separate from federal accountability measures required under the No Child Left Behind law, though both were released the same day. The federal progress goals only account for performance on statewide exams, while the state rankings give credit to schools for both performance and improvement over time. Consequences of the federal law only apply to schools receiving certain federal funding, while the state consequences apply to all public schools except charter schools.

State education officials are working on revamping Indiana's accountability system and hope to seek a federal waiver next year to replace the current dual improvement system with a single state system, Bennett said.


  • Man Up
    It's time for Dupree and his/her ilk to 1) learn how to spell -- I hope he/she is not a teacher!, and 2) stop being defensive and offer up solutions of their own.

    Surely they cannot believe that our schools are performing admirably. If they agree that improvements are needed, be a part of the solution by engaging in constructive action and stop the defensive whining that does no good for even one student.
  • It is time for Bennett to try just one failing school...he can't do better.
    It is easy for Mr. Bennett to say "failing school", yet we need to point out that Mr. Bennett had failing schools when he was school superintendent. I would guess that today, by his standards, he would be a failing gym teacher, not being able to get all the students to run a fast mile.

    Bennett needs to stop talking and actually show a real plan that would turn an IPS school into success with the funds available.

    Talk is cheep. Time for Bennett to do something constructive.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Yes sir keep cashing those 300K a year checks direct to IMS, while millions disappear from the teams like Rahal's. Guess there wasn't enough ka- ching going around to keep Sarah Fisher in business without their "merger". LOL._____.Meanwhile back in Realville the series with the "best racing in the world" drew what appeared to be about 5000 live spectators ( and probably 1500 of those Target "freebies", and was beaten in the ratings by a series that reportedly consists of "parades" and aired while most people are still sleeping. That will generate those big ka-chings for sure. :-). But, hey, as long as the Speedway gets the cash who gives a damn about the teams?

  2. Welcome to PETERSON LOAN AGENCY Company (A Personalized Service for All Your Financial Needs) We, Liberal Investment Company Providers offers loan at a very low interest rate of 2%, we offer Personal loans, Debt Consolidation Loan, Venture Capital, Business Loan, Educational Loan, Home Loan, and Loan for any reason and urgent needs!. with a maximum duration of 30 years. Have you been turned down by your bank? Do you have bad credit? Do you have unpaid bills? Are you in debt? Do you need to set up a business? Worry no more as we are here to offer you a low interest loan. Our loan ranges from $5,000-USD (Five Thousand US dollars) to $50, 000,000.00.(Fifty Million US dollars). We also lend in USA DOLLARS EURO and POUNDS ! Fill in this form and forward it to our email: PETERSONLOANAGENCY@GMAIL.COM 1. Your Full names:_______ 2. Contact address:_______ 3. Country Of Residence:______ 4. Loan Amount Required:________ 5. Duration:_____ 6. Gender:_____ 7. Occupation:________ 8. Monthly Income:_______ 9. Date Of Birth:________ 10.Telephone Number:________ 11. Purpose of loan:_________ Yours In Service, MR PERRY, PETERSONLOANAGENCY@GMAIL.COM

  3. If I could actually get the prices...I would do this on my own. We need laws that force provides to publish the costs they will charge. Everyone else gives you the price in advance...except hospitals.

  4. I was under the impression that fencing is not allowed on a front yard and that on a corner, both sides are considered "front" yards, therefore can't be fenced without a variance. Also impedes the visibility for drivers at the intersection. Am I understanding this correctly? Might be why a fence was not included in the plans and a request for a variance will have to be made?.

  5. I was a big fan of Cowards and Carrots, which I got a chance to see at the show. It's currently on Kickstarter, but the designer also put out What's He Building in There last year, which got a fair amount of buzz.