School grade panel suggests new focus on 'growth'

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The bipartisan panel tasked with overhauling the school grading formula at the center of Indiana's grade-changing scandal submitted recommendations Thursday with a new focus on how individual students perform on state tests.

If adopted by the State Board of Education, the new formula would grade schools on a 100-point scale based in part on how their students perform on standardized tests year-to-year. It would also expand testing to first and second grades while potentially lowering the number of overall tests students take throughout their schooling.

Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, and Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Steven Yager, who was appointed by Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, praised the work of the group they co-chaired through seven intensive meetings over the past six weeks.

"Because of this group's work, for the first time, we have moved a major step closer to a system that measures our schools based on individual student learning," Ritz said in a statement Thursday.

The new formula, according to the report, should calculate school grades differently for grades one to eight and grades nine to 12, balance raw performance on tests against student improvement, and judge students based on expectations on how much they should improve annually or "targeted growth."

The school grades play a crucial role in determining teacher pay, school funding and whether "failing" schools are turned over to private operators by the state. The existing grading formula became the center of controversy after The Associated Press reported former Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett had altered it last year to benefit a donor's Indianapolis charter school.

State lawmakers had already approved a rewrite of the formula earlier this year, amid widespread criticism about the Bennett scandal. Elected officials picked a 17-member group to create a transparent and easier to understand grading system.

The "A-F" panel's 38-page report now heads to the state board, which must sign off on a new grading formula by Nov. 15. Tensions have been running high on the board after Ritz, the chairwoman, sued the other 10 members for seeking to move the grade calculations from her agency.

The panel also recommended the state spend a year testing any new formula before applying it after the 2014-15 school year. The pair of legislative investigators tasked with uncovering the changes Bennett made to the formula said the former superintendent and his team rushed the grades out too fast last year and lacked the technical skills needed to properly vet the new system.

The pair of investigators also recommended more transparency in the crafting of the new formula.

The report comes as Ritz is telling local school superintendents that school grades for the 2012-13 school year will be delivered Nov. 22. The 10 other state board members targeted by Ritz in the lawsuit, all appointees made by Republican governors, accused Ritz of dragging her feet on the grades in a letter two weeks ago.

That letter, which asked the General Assembly's bill-drafting agency to calculate the school grades instead of Ritz, sparked the lawsuit, which is scheduled for its first hearing Tuesday in Marion County civil court.


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. why oh why does this state continue to elect these people....do you wonder how much was graft out of the 3.8 billion?

  2. i too think this is a great idea. I think the vision and need is there as well. But also agree with Wendy that there may be better location in our city to fulfill this vision and help grow the sports of hockey and figure skating in Indy. Also to help further develop other parts of the city that seem often forgotten. Any of the other 6 townships out side of the three northernmost could benefit greatly from a facility and a vision like this. For a vision that sounds philanthropic, the location is appears more about the money. Would really like to see it elsewhere, but still wish the development the best of luck, as we can always use more ice in the city. As for the Ice growth when they return, if schedules can be coordinated with the Fuel, what could be better than to have high level hockey available to go see every weekend of the season? Good luck with the development and the return of the Ice.

  3. How many parking spaces do they have at Ironworks? Will residents have reserved spaces or will they have to troll for a space among the people that are there at Ruth Chris & Sangiovese?

  4. You do not get speeding ticket first time you speed and this is not first time Mr.Page has speed. One act should not define a man and this one act won't. He got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree with judge no person was injured by his actions. The state was robbed of money by paying too much rent for a building and that money could have been used for social services. The Page family maybe "generous" with their money but for most part all of it is dirty money that he obtained for sources that are not on the upright. Page is the kind of lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. He paid off this judge like he has many other tine and walked away. Does he still have his license. I believe so. Hire him to get you confiscated drug money back. He will. It will cost you.

  5. I remain amazed at the level of expertise of the average Internet Television Executive. Obviously they have all the answers and know the business inside and out.