New ratings system for Indiana schools dramatically changes scho - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New ratings system for Indiana schools dramatically changes school grades

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The latest A-to-F ratings for Indiana schools are in, and a new ratings system dramatically changed some school's grades.

Remember the feeling you'd get on report card day? Susan Ward sure does. The academic improvement coordinator for Maple Elementary School says she can remember looking at her grades and being, "nervous and hopeful that they were going to be what they needed to be so I could impress my parents."

All of the feelings come rushing back to Ward when the state releases its grades on Indiana schools. 

Maple dropped from an "A" to a "B" this year, one of the 10 Greater Clark County schools to see lower grades. 

"It's like any team," Ward said. "You might have a bit of a lull one year, but we'll be right back next year."

But overall, the district is pleased.

"We have no 'D's or 'F's, and that's a huge step in the right direction for us," Superintendent Andy Melin said. 

Indiana changed its formula this year on school ratings, putting more weight on students' growth from year to year, graduation rates and college and career readiness scores. The formula focuses less on the publicly scrutinized ISTEP test. 

"We didn't even have adequate results to know how we had done last year to prepare for this year," explained Ward. 

Greater Clark's overall grade improved to "B." The new accountability system was not as kind across the state. More school saw "F"s and locally, in Clark and Floyd Counties, 43 percent of the public schools got a "C" grade or below. 

Mt. Tabor Elementary School is the only Public school in Clark County or Floyd County with an "F" grade according to the Indiana Department of Education reports. Last year, the kids at the schools got a "B." WDRB News made several attempts to reach New Albany-Floyd County Leaders to ask what happened. No one returned our calls. 

District to district, New Albany-Floyd County saw grades drop at six schools, with seven of 14 campuses scoring a "C" or below. 

West Clark also had six schools with lower grades and five of eight campuses in the district landed in the "C" or "D" lower tiers.

Clarksville Community School Corporation saw its elementary school drop from an "A" to a "C," and the middle school climb from a "C" to a "B" rating. The high school, where only 10 percent of sophomores passed the ISTEP in both English/Language Arts and Math, maintained a "B" rating.

"This is due to the fact that the State recognized the issues with this new assessment. These test scores were only 25% of the final school grade." Clarksville Superintendent Kim Knott said in a statement emailed to WDRB. "I know this building will do whatever necessary to ensure students are successful on the spring 2017 ISTEP assessment."

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said, "Indiana implemented a new student-centered school accountability system utilizing Indiana’s new, more rigorous standards and assessments for the first time.  For those reasons, the 2015-16 school year establishes a new baseline for school accountability grades."

To parents like David Baker, the scores count. "I didn't have good grades when I was in school so it matters because I want my kids to know more...way more than what I knew."

Bakers daughter Lauren attends Maple Elementary and he said he's happy with the school's "B" and that he can see improvement in his daughter's work. He said, " When she first started she had real bad grades and now she's only missing two spelling words out of 20." 

To view scores from every Indiana public school, click here.

Related Stories:

Should Kentucky move to an A-F accountability system for its schools?

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