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After ISTEP Snafu, School Letter Grades Are 'Starting Over'

Benjamin Chun

A-to-F school grades for Indiana schools were released Tuesday, following months of concerns about how lower ISTEP scores would affect them.

Schools could earn a higher grade but not a lower grade than last year -- because of concerns the major drop in scores of the new ISTEP test would unfairly impact a school’s grade.

Nearly 57-percent of all Indiana schools were given an A. Only about 9-percent of schools earned a D or an F.

That’s a small improvement from past years, though the removal of ISTEP scores from the metric likely skews both numbers positively.

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. So we’ve started over with a new assessment. It’s not comparable with previous assessments,” Ritz says. “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.

A bill signed into law by Gov. Pence last week prevented schools from earning a lower grade than 2014.

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