- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The number of Indiana schools that received failing marks roughly doubled to 130 this year, while the number receiving A grades fell by half under new ratings for the 2015-16 academic year released by the Indiana Department of Education on Tuesday.

The ratings were the first under a new accountability system that had more rigorous standards and assessments. Outgoing state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said the new system “establishes a new baseline for school accountability grades.”

Schools earning the highest ratings fell to 24 percent, a decline of more than 600 schools, The Indianapolis Star reported (https://indy.st/2hs6tSq ).

The school grades were based not only on the number of students who pass or fail the ISTEP standardized tests, but on whether those students improved. The new rating model is expected to lead to fewer “A” schools, but help lower-performing schools boost their ratings if students show progress.

Jennifer McCormick, a Republican who is school superintendent in Yorktown and will become the state superintendent in January, raised questions about the new rating model.

“I know there are a lot of people still very concerned. A lot of it was just back to the administration of the exam. Does it really reflect what we’re getting done in schools?” McCormick said.

In all, 23.6 percent of schools earned an A, 38.9 percent received a B, 22.7 percent got a C grade, 8.8 percent received a D and 6.1 percent got an F, Department of Education date show.

The ratings not only affect the perception of a school’s quality, but they also can influence bonuses teachers receive in their annual evaluations. It’s unknown when teachers will receive their performance pay this year.

Data show a greater percentage of charter schools received an F grade than traditional public schools. Less than 5 percent of Indiana’s traditional public schools are failing, but nearly a quarter of charter schools are in the latest ratings.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com


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