Eight public schools in Elkhart County received an "A" through Indiana's school accountability program, but many Elkhart County school administrators say the number could have been higher.
Without a strict connection to the nation-wide No Child Left Behind model, more than three times that many schools would have an "A" from the state, administrators said.
Baugo, Fairfield, Middlebury and Wa-Nee all received exemplary status, what the Indiana Department of Education is calling an "A" this year. Goshen received commendable progress status or a "B." Concord and Elkhart corporations both received academic progress or "C" status. Elkhart would have received an "A," but because PL 221 caps grades at a "C" if a school or corporation does not meet AYP the last two years, they are limited to a "C," Superintendent Mark Mow said.
Those caps also limited the number of individual Elkhart County schools that were able to receive an "A" from the state's program.
Overall in Elkhart County, eight public schools earned an "A" or exemplary status, eight schools received a "B" or commendable status, 31 schools received "C" or academic progress status, five schools received a "D" or watch status and three schools received an "F" or probation status.
Mow and other public school superintendents have discussed the state's policy of limited PL 221 grades based on AYP. Mow said that if schools were graded on growth alone, without the cap, 27 Elkhart County schools would have received an "A," while several more would have earned a "B."
All public school corporations except for Concord met AYP as a district.
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released numbers today for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the national accountability system through No Child Left Behind, and Public Law 221, the state's accountability system.
To meet AYP, public schools must meet standards for the number of overall students and for students in particular demographics passing English and math. The subgroups, which come into play when a school has 30 or more students that fit a demographic, include economic background, race, limited English proficiency and special education. Students are tested using the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus exam for English and math. Graduation and attendance rates are also taken into account.
PL 221 is Indiana's K-12 accountability system. Schools are assessed based on students' performance on the math and English portions of the ISTEP+, the average rate of improvement over a three-year period and the school's ability to make AYP.
Data on PL 221 from the state is available here: http://www.doe.in.gov/assessment/pl221_embargoed.html
Data on AYP from the state is available here: http://www.doe.in.gov/assessment/ayp_embargoed.html