IPS gets "F" rating in school accountability report

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There's a new report card out for Indiana schools. The State Board of Education issued A through F grades for each of the nearly 300 school corporations. IPS is one of four corporations to get an "F" grade but several local school districts scored "A" grades.

Across the state, report cards are getting better. Fewer school corporations received C's, D's and F's. More earned B's. In some instances grades jumped or fell two letter grades in just one year. 

Should we believe these grades? Vick Smith founder of the Indiana Coalition for Public school Education doesn't. 

"I was taught if you measuring stick is invalid and unreliable than your conclusions are invalid," he said.

ISTEP scores are the measuring stick by which students and their schools are graded. The system of using those test scores to calculate how much students have learned or improved from year to year, critics say, is capricious, unpredictable and flawed.

Smith is a lifelong educator and public school advocate. 

"The biggest thing is whether the kids passed or not," he explained. "So if a kid improved, but does not quite pass, it's like nothing happened."

Indiana lawmakers ordered the Department of Education to have a, more accurate, understandable grading system in place this year. It won't be ready until next year. 

Glenda Ritz, Superintendent of Public Instruction, explained the biggest change. 

"Schools will get two pieces of information: performance and growth of their students," she said.

Instead of student's academic achievements being compared and graded against the state averages, the new system grades students against set standards and their previous year's ISTEP scores. 

"The growth component in the new system will be based on individual student growth. Each individual child; they won't be in comparison to their peers around the state of  Indiana," Ritz added.

Educators around the state are eager to see the details, and how their students will fare under a new yardstick of school accountability.

The new measuring stick may benefit improving but still struggling schools. The grades of higher achieving school could suffer because they are not improving even more.

Carmel, Brownsburg, and Center Grove are among the local schools earning A's. 

Check the ratings here. (Results are listed by county.)