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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Indiana school districts will not receive two A-F letter grades to represent their state and federal accountability scores starting this year.

Instead, the state will use federal guidelines to identify whether districts and schools are meeting their academic goals to avoid confusion with two separate A-F grades, Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker said in an email Tuesday.

Last year was the first for the two A-F state and federal letter grades in Indiana, and while they measured similar indicators like proficiency and graduation rates, the scales and measurements were different under the state and federal accountability systems, he said.

 At times, that yielded different letter grades and led to confusion, he said.

The new scores, expected to be released later this month, will indicate whether schools and districts are exceeding, meeting, approaching or not meeting their academic goals, Baker said, noting that IDOE received approval from the U.S. Department of Education in October to scrap its federal A-F letter grades.

Moving to the new federal model will give schools and districts “actionable data that is accessible and aligned to state policy goals for performance,” Baker said.

“Everything in the system is aligned to long-term policy goals to see how each school is doing in relation to achieving that goal,” he said in an email Tuesday to WDRB News. “Rather than looking at accountability as something punitive, which is the view of many schools regarding the A-F grading, we looked at using it as a tool to measure achievement and motivate progress toward goals.”

The other A-F scores, which provide grades for schools and districts based on standardized test results, have been delayed as Indiana lawmakers consider “hold harmless” legislation in next year’s session to prevent schools and teachers from being penalized for poor ILEARN test scores.

Such legislation is a top priority for Indiana educators, thousands of whom rallied at the Capitol on Nov. 19 for that and other measures, including pay raises, in the upcoming session.

Those grades are used by IDOE to determine whether the state needs to intervene in districts and schools. Teacher evaluations and bonuses are also based on those scores.

Indiana schools transitioned to ILEARN in the 2018-19 school year, and results released earlier this year showed that fewer than half of all students in the state tested at least proficient in both reading and math.

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