A new grading scale for Indiana schools has won preliminary approval, and could become final by March. The state has already junked measurements like “meeting expectations” in favor of A through F letter grades. Now it is revising how those grades are calculated.
The state board of education gave preliminary approval to the new scale Monday. It will not become official until after a public comment period — and, potentially, further changes. The draft rule gives equal weight to schools’ English scores, math scores, and graduation rates, with “college and career readiness” counting for a third as much.
Over the next four years, the state would gradually shift some weight away from test scores toward the readiness measure until it becomes equal with the graduation rate component.
State school superintendent Tony Bennett says the results of the old scale are dubious.
“I think we‘re going to have a devil of a time convincing the federal government that only 16 percent of our high schools are in the lowest two performance categories, because that is counterintuitive to any national statistic,” he says. “It‘s counterintuitive.”
Indiana School Boards Association Executive Director Frank Bush says instead of simplifying the scoring, the proposed new formula is more complex.
“A through F is a clear label, but the standard to get there and all the mechanisms you have to apply to get there — and then, who sets the target point?” he says.
About half Indiana’s schools received an A on the most recent assessment. If the new system had been in place, that number would have been split in half between A’s and B’s, with a ripple effect producing more C and F schools.