Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What’s going on with Indiana’s A-F school grading system?

A change to the current A-F grading system for Indiana schools could be coming in November.
Posted on Sept. 29, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 29, 2013 at 4:05 p.m.

Indiana public schools are waiting to get their grades from the state for the 2012-13 year. But the state’s A-F grading system, which was first established in 1999, may be changing soon.

Right now, schools are given a letter grade each year based on students’ performance, improvement, participation and growth. The grading system also takes into account graduation rates for high schools and ISTEP+ scores for elementary and middle schools. This year, many Indiana students had technical difficulties when trying to take the ISTEP online. Then, former state superintendent of public instruction Tony Bennett, was accused of changing some school’s 2011-12 A-F grades for political reasons.

Now, the letter grade system is being reviewed by a 17-member panel of teachers, school administrators, and technical advisors. They have until Nov. 1 to recommend a new accountability system to the state board of education, according to Indiana Department of Education press secretary Daniel Altman.

Altman said Friday, Sept. 27, that the panel met for the first time on Sept. 19. The group meets about once a week, he added. These meetings, which take place at the Statehouse in Indianapolis, are streamed online so that anyone who wants to can watch the proceedings.

“This process needs to be fair and transparent, and the best way to do that is to let people see what is happening,” Altman said.

He added, “The rankings affect everybody, not just schools.”

The accountability panel will meet next on Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can watch the meeting online at www.in.gov/legislative/2241.htm.

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