News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

October 29, 2013

Panel offers new A-to-F grading formula

Proposal modifies weight given to several data points

INDIANAPOLIS — An advisory panel appointed by legislative leaders to review the state’s A-to-F accountability system for public schools has come up with its own proposal for rating schools that keeps the letter grades but also changes the formula for how those grades are assigned.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, who co-chaired the panel, called it a “conceptual framework” for measuring how well schools are doing to improve academic performance and student growth.

“We are in the first phase of what we need to accomplish,” Ritz told a weary 17-member panel that had spent more than eight hours Monday hashing out some final details of the proposed plan. The panel, appointed in September, was on a Nov. 1 deadline to come up with a plan to present to the State Board of Education, with whom is Ritz warring over the current A-to-F model.

Among the changes proposed are a new scoring system based on a 1 to 100 scale that would include more data for calculating grades; additional testing for students through the 11th grade; and an increased emphasis on graduation rates and college and career readiness.

The proposal also includes building in “guardrails” for schools that see big drops on their accountability grades, to help them return to a path of progress.

The proposed plan isn’t simple. At one point during the long meeting Monday, several panel members voiced concerns that the proposed A-to-F metrics appeared as complicated as the old ones that have come under fire.

“We can’t even get a model that meets our first and simplest goal, which was to make this transparent and easy to understand,” said Brownsburg Community Schools Superintendent Dan Snapp.

Other panel members questioned whether some school officials might “game the system” if the new model allowed some students to escape the mandatory, standardized tests that are a critical component of the current A-to-F accountability model. Those panel members worried that some school officials would intentionally exclude students who were likely to do poorly on the tests.

“I think there are some out there [already] gaming the system, and shame on them,” said Bluffton High School Principal Steve Baker.

The panel’s goal was to find a formula that could measure how well schools — and their teachers — are performing. But the task wasn’t easy.

Under a mandate by the federal government to come up with a grading system for schools, Indiana and other states are struggling to figure out a way to measure academic progress of students who range widely in their abilities.

“The things we’re looking at — the various ways to measure growth — are still in their infancy,” said panel member Derek Redelman, an education policy analyst with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “There is no commonly accepted way of doing it.”

The current A-to-F grading system has been a lightning rod for criticism since it was rolled out two years ago. During the 2013 session, legislators ordered the State Board of Education to come up with a new formula that focused more on measuring individual student growth and less on how those students compared with their peers across the state.

The issue was elevated significantly over the summer, following reports by the Associated Press that Ritz’s predecessor, Republican Tony Bennett, covertly changed the A-to-F grading system in a way that elevated the scores of 156 schools, including an Indianapolis charter school founded by a wealthy Republican donor.

Ritz, the only statewide elected Democrat in the Statehouse, escalated the A-to-F controversy last week when she filed a lawsuit against 10 members of the State Board of Education. Ritz contends the bipartisan, appointed board acted illegally when its members signed a letter asking Republican legislative leaders take the A-to-F grading system away from her department and turn it over to the Legislative Services Agency, the nonpartisan research arm of the General Assembly.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, a Republican, has asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma Today in History for July 28th Trial Begins Over OKC Bombing Video
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News