Indiana Board of Education okays new A-F grading system


After two years of panels, research, public comment and a lot of controversy, the State Board of Education finally approved a new grading scale to measure the success of Indiana schools.

The current grading scale mostly calculates student performance on ISTEP testing with only bonus points awarded for growth. The new system gives equal weight to performance and growth.

The Board of Education has been working hard to listen to all of the comments and criticisms and come up with a new scale that benefits everyone.  While the new system will mean fewer 'A' rated schools, it will also mean fewer 'D' and 'F' schools, too.  

This entire process has been full of bumps in the road and that didn't stop today.  Superintendent Glenda Ritz wanted a number of minor changes and word edits reviewed and approved before the board approved the entire plan. Board members balked at that. It led to over an hour of discussion, even debate and nearly delayed the vote for another month.

"Tuesday night at about 10:17, we get an email from DOE saying they want us to review edits, but no one could open the file. I did call the consultant, but could not get clarity around what the edits were so I really just saw them today," said Dr. Rob Oliver, board chair.

"I'm pretty confident that we're going to get the changes that I know we wanted to see so that we're right where we need to be," said Ritz.

In the end, the board was able to approve the plan and can go back and make the minor word changes and clarifications later.  

The new grading scale won't go into effect until the 2016-17 school year. For the upcoming school year, they'll use the current scale and then also take the new system through a practice run just to check for tweaks before fully implementing the following year.