State Board Releases ‘Hold Harmless’ A-F Grades
The State Board of Education released A-F grades for the 2014-2015 school year. Nearly 57 percent of all Indiana schools were given an A and only about nine percent of schools earned a D or F.
This is a slight improvement.
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After 2015 ISTEP+ scores showed huge decreases in students passing the assessment, the 2016 General Assembly passed legislation that gave the Department of Education flexibility in assigning A-F grades for this school year.
A-F grades are largely based on ISTEP+ scores, the DOE and legislature worried many schools would be considered failing under the accountability system. The bill, which Governor Pence signed into law last week, allowed the DOE to assign a school the better A-F grade between the 2013-2014 school year and the 2014-2015 school year.
The grades approved by the SBOE reflect this ‘hold harmless’ approach and not the A-F grade calculated with scores if it is lower.
But Superintendent Glenda Ritz says to remember that the scores are based only on one year’s worth of data.
“We really are starting over,” she aid. “So we’ve started over with a new assessment. It’s not comparable with previous assessments. We have a brand new baseline. And in 15-16 we are also going to have a new accountability system. Which can’t really be compared to what it is we did before.”
So, is there an upside to the 2015 A-F grades?
Local superintendents across the state say yes. Their schools won’t be unfairly penalized because of the new and tougher ISTEP and academic standards.