Indiana school ‘grading’ system gets failing marks

From the outside looking in, Indiana’s state education issues appear as flawed as ever, particularly with the A-F performance grading system.

Those grades are used to measure performance in Indiana schools, based on state standardized testing.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz asked the state Board of Education in July to consider not giving lower A-F performance grades to schools for a year.

That was because of an expected drop in student scores on the ISTEP standardized tests taken last spring in grades three through eight. Of course, the board is controlled by a Republican majority. On the other side, Democrats, led by Ritz, wanted to hold up on score results for a year.

Anyway, what we learned last week, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, is that A-F performance grades to schools could be canceled this year because regulations on setting those grades expired.

The Fort Wayne newspaper reported that it obtained a document which said the A-F system’s regulations expired in November.

To this, according to an Associated Press story, opponents say Ritz is trying to undermine the process.

The state Education Department has asked the state attorney general’s office for a legal opinion on the scores.

So now this is another agency of expertise added into the mix as the evaluation process grinds to a halt. But an education department spokesman said it is only the department doing its normal due diligence on rule-making.

On the other hand, one state Board of Education member said the superintendent has tried four or five times to get the accountability regulations set aside.

“I’m not surprised there would be another effort,” Indiana State Board of Education member Cari Whicker told the Journal Gazette. “But it’s a stretch.”

Those school grades help determine such factors such as teacher pay raises.

Ironically a new regulation is already in place for the 2015-16 school year.

For now, the state Education Department has asked the Indiana attorney general’s office for a legal opinion.

Good luck.

Between the education department and the Indiana Board of Education, Indiana will continue its struggle to determine whether or not Indiana will create regulations to decide on the status of Indiana schools.

It continues to be an adventure, deciding which faction will set the course for Indiana schools.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to