IBJNews

Critics say grades for schools too complex to understand

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Public schools around Indiana will learn their final grades next week under a ranking system using new rules that critics say are too complex for schools and parents to understand.

The State Board of Education is scheduled to approve grades for the more than 2,000 public schools across the state on Wednesday. The system, based largely on student standardized test scores, gives schools and districts A-F grades instead of ranking them by categories such as "academic progress" and "probation" as had been done until 2011.

But this year, the grades are based on new rules that critics claim are inaccurate and unfair. The state board approved the new rules in February over widespread opposition ranging from teachers to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Much of the criticism revolves around the way the new evaluation system measures student growth. Students only get credit for "high growth" if their gain is better than two-thirds of all students at their testing level. That means only a third of students will be able to reach it, no matter how much their scores go up.

Supporters, including state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett, say the new way gives schools more credit when students' test scores grow faster than their peers, and provides more information and greater flexibility than the old system.

"It used to be strictly on a pass-fail system, and that's no longer the case," Bennett, who is running for his second term, told The Associated Press in an interview this week.

Bennett's opponent, Glenda Ritz, has made an issue out of the new evaluation system, saying the rules are so complicated even Bennett's own department doesn't understand them.

Last year, the grades were released in August. They were supposed to be released Oct. 10 this year, but that was delayed until Oct. 31 after the Department of Education was bombarded with questions and several school districts filed appeals, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported.

Bennett said the agency wanted to give schools and districts more time to examine the preliminary results they received in September.

"My No. 1 goal was to get it right and to provide a clear picture of how schools perform," he told AP.

Ritz, however, said she suspects the grades' release to be delayed again—until after Nov. 6.

"I don't think Tony is going to release the results until after the election, because most schools are going to receive D's and F's," she said.

The grades will reflect schools' performances during the 2011-12 school year.

East Allen County Schools Superintendent Karyle Green told The Journal Gazette that the calculations used in the new system are so difficult to fathom they cause people to lose confidence in the results. She also questioned the way student growth is measured.

"The ideas behind what they're trying to do have positive merit, but because it's so new, nothing appears to be going as planned," she said.

Green also questioned how schools could usefully apply the grades when they aren't released until months into the school year.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • School grades and the election
    It really will be interesting to see if the school grades are released before the election! Ultimately the grades of schools in Indiana are the grades of Dr. Bennett himself.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT