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State Releases A-F Grades For Schools, Corporations

Phil Jern

After a delay of more than two weeks, parents can now find their child‘s school grade as issued by the state.

The State Board of Education voted Wednesday to approve the A-to-F grades after delaying the vote from their October meeting to allow for more verification. Board members, over the objection of State Superintendent Glenda Ritz, wanted to double-check the numbers due to a data error affecting the grades of five schools.

The board was also concerned about appeals filed over the calculation of certain data at some charter schools. Ritz eventually voted for the delay last month, though she initially wanted the grades released.

More than half the state‘s 2,100 schools received “A” grades based largely on their ISTEP scores – 27 of the 40 Tippecanoe County schools graded received the highest grade possible.

The number of schools receiving grades of "C" or lower also continued to fall, though some school districts could see a change in their grade next year since the formula used to calculate the grades is being changed due to a mandate from the legislature. Five Tippecanoe County schools received a "C" and one, New Community School, was given an "F" for the 2013-2014 school year.

The county’s three corporations all received different grades, with West Lafayette receiving its ninth consecutive “A”, Tippecanoe School Corporation remaining at a “B” and Lafayette schools falling from a “B” to a “C”.

The grades are currently determined by measuring how a student performs against similar students; the new measurement will only look at an individual student‘s growth versus their past performance.

ISTEP tests themselves are also changing this year to reflect Indiana‘s new academic standards. Ritz‘s department says the new growth measure could mean fewer schools receive A‘s, but their projections also say fewer schools would receive "F"s.

A handful of schools are still having appeals of their grades considered, which means their final grade could change.

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