The Indiana Department of Education has released the 2015 A-F accountability grades for schools. The grades reflect recent legislation, signed by Governor Mike Pence, which holds schools harmless for lower ISTEP test scores. Chalkbeat Indiana Bureau Chief Scott Elliott says that created a unique situation, where no school received a lower grade than the previous year.
The grades were approved Tuesday by the State Board of Education. The report shows 55.4% of schools received an A grade while 19% received a B. Just over 14% of schools received a C, 6.1% received a D and 2.6% received F grades.
The 2015 grades are an improvement over the previous year, but because of the hold harmless legislation, schools could only receive higher grades or the same grades as 2014. The bills signed by Pence also protect teacher pay from being affected by the ISTEP as the state transitions to a new test.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz issued the following statement as the numbers were released:
After more than 18 months spent advocating to hold our schools and teachers harmless for the transition to more rigorous college and career ready standards and the results of a more rigorous ISTEP+ assessment, I am pleased to release 2015 school accountability grades that do not penalize schools and communities for this transition. I want to thank Indiana’s students, educators, and families for their hard work and patience during this challenging school year.
While I appreciate the work of the legislature to hold schools harmless for the results of last year’s ISTEP+ assessment, Indiana should move away from labeling Hoosier schools, and in turn Hoosier students, based on the results of a lengthy, pass/fail, high-stakes assessment. I support accountability but I support accountability that makes sense. I look forward to implementing Indiana’s new Student-Centered Accountability System which more accurately reflects the great work happening in our schools and communities every day.
Elliott says a final decision on a move away from ISTEP likely won’t come until the 2017 legislative session.