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Education Committee Votes To Toss School Grading System

Glenda Ritz is the Democratic candidate for state superintendent.

Indiana lawmakers want to throw out the state’s current A to F school accountability system and direct the State Board of Education to develop a new one.

Members of both parties are uniting behind a single message: the current school accountability system does not make sense. But some are split on what the new system should look like.

Columbia City Republican Senator Jim Banks says, while the current system is impossible to understand and explain, he wants to retain the A to F framework.

“The A to F grading metric provides a simple opportunity to grade schools so we know which schools are good, which need to improve,” Banks says.

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz proposes labeling schools as Reward, Focus or Priority schools based on two measures: growth and achievement. If schools have both high achievement and positive growth, they’re a reward school. If they have low achievement and negative growth, they’re a priority school.

If there is a mix, they earn a focus school designation. She says trying to fit two metrics, achievement and growth, into one grade does not work.

“When you combine them together and try to have one solid score for that, then that’s where we are now, where we cannot tell you what the grade represents,” Ritz says. “Does it represent mostly growth?  Does it represent mostly achievement?  And how can it represent both fairly?”

Banks praised Ritz for her work to come up with a new plan. Ritz says she and the state Board will take input from a wide variety of sources when developing a new accountability system.

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