Indiana schools to get separate state, federal grades

Indiana schools will get two separate performance grades from differing state and federal formulas.

Schools will receive grades this year from a state accountability law and through the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, The Journal Gazette reported . The formulas differ, so schools might not receive matching grades.

"It's going to be extremely confusing when you have two different systems going on that reflect different pieces," Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick said. "My fear is you get fatigued and you get frustrated and that's not where we want schools to be."

School will receive dual grades for at least a year.

"I think it's really sad that the concept of accountability has become so politicized that people just don't pay attention anymore," said Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools. "The validity of how you get an 'A' has lost the luster because so much is based on where the kids live and resources and socioeconomics. It's not consistent."

The state law focuses on student achievement and growth with standardized tests and annual improvements. The federal law takes into account factors such as attendance and English-language learning, and also requires certain low-performing schools to be marked as either needing targeted or comprehensive support.

The Indiana Board of Education tried to revamp the state's system to fit the federal model, but stopped after educators expressed concern.

Board Vice Chairwoman Cari Whicker said she's not happy with the two grades but it was the best option. She said the current state system is better than the proposed changes.

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