SYRACUSE — Indiana Department of Education publicly released 2015 school accountability grades Tuesday, Jan. 26. Final grades were approved unanimously by the State Board of Education during its board meeting, also Tuesday.
Wawasee Community School Corp. was given four B grades and one C. Wawasee Middle School, Milford School, Syracuse Elementary School and Wawasee High School were all given a B grade, while North Webster Elementary School was given a C.
Accountability grades issued differed this year because schools and teachers were held harmless for the transition to more difficult college and career ready standards for the ISTEP+. Gov. Mike Pence recently signed legislation into law holding schools and teachers harmless.
“Wawasee Community Schools is always glad when good news about our students, teachers, parents and community is shared,” said Dr. Tom Edington, Wawasee superintendent, in response to the grades issued. “Having passing grades with the state is no exception. We work hard to help our students learn and demonstrate that knowledge.”
But knowing accountability grades are based on ISTEP+ results, Edington said the past three years of testing have been difficult and trying due to technical difficulties and “have made measuring student progress a joke.” Wawasee uses Northwest Evaluation Association, more commonly known as NWEA, testing to gauge student progress.
Edington also expressed frustration with state legislators, saying they are trying to control public schools too much.
Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, said she is pleased schools were not penalized for the 2015 ISTEP+ results, but as she has been repeatedly in the past was critical of the ISTEP+ and also accountability letter grades. “Indiana should move away from labeling Hoosier schools, and in turn Hoosier students, based on the results of a lengthy, pass/fail, high stakes assessment,” she said in a press release. “I support accountability, but I support accountability that makes sense.”