Indiana schools recorded their most successful year ever under the state’s accountability metrics outlined within Public Law 221 (PL 221), Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett announced today in a meeting of the State Board of Education (SBOE). A record number of schools, 775 in total, received an “A” or “Exemplary” ranking based on student performance and improvement data from the state’s ISTEP+ test and End of Course Assessments.
“Today’s announcement proves high expectations and strong accountability deliver results for Indiana’s students,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. “Our educators should be tremendously proud of the vital role they played in driving elevated results across the board.”
Overall, more than 50 percent of Indiana’s schools reside in the two highest school ranking categories: 42 percent earned the highest ranking available, “A” or “Exemplary,” and another 9 percent were designated as “B” or “Commendable” schools.
The number of schools receiving an “F” or “Academic Probation” ranking decreased by 50 percent from 2011 to 2010 and is at its lowest point in state history. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) will continue to work with local stakeholders to generate improvements in these schools. Turning around low-performing schools remains a priority for the U.S. Department of Education and IDOE.
In 2011, Indiana’s schools received letter grades for the first time in state history. These grades were accompanied by the traditional rankings schools have received since PL 221’s implementation in 1999. The five letter grades assigned to schools align with the five placement categories traditionally given to schools. The switch to letter grades aims to increase transparency and engagement in school communities.
“Parents, educators and students deserve an accountability system that is clear and transparent,” Dr. Bennett said. “Communities should have the opportunity to celebrate their ‘A’ schools and reward their educators for driving academic growth. Our best schools are a source of pride that I hope will inspire efforts across the state.”
The SBOE has initiated a rulemaking process to update the metrics used to calculate PL 221 rankings. The new system, starting after the current school year, will continue A-F grades and incorporate new ways to measure student growth and achievement, such as Indiana’s Growth Model. The IDOE will provide updates on this process as it moves forward.
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) scores were also released for schools statewide. Overall, 51 percent of schools made AYP in 2011. AYP is the federal measure for academic progress outlined in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and it has been included in PL 221 since the law went into effect. Schools not making AYP for two years consecutive years can receive no higher than a “C” or “Academic Progress” ranking, even where a school has raised scores enough to earn a higher rating by state measures. The SBOE has indicated it will likely remove the AYP cap from future accountability metrics.