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. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!