WARSAW — Following months of controversy, the Indiana Department of Education has released school accountability grades for the 2014-2015 school year.
Recently, the Indiana House of Representatives and Indiana Senate passed final versions of SB 200 and HB 1003, which will hold schools, teachers and communities “harmless” for an expected drop in ISTEP+ scores following the sudden change in the test to college and career ready academic standards.
The bills will allow schools to report either better or as good of scores as last year’s ISTEP+. A feat many at the state level have noted was necessary after the dismal scores seen statewide on the test.
Warsaw Community School Corporation saw grades the same as last year’s accountability report. The corporation itself attained a B letter grade with Claypool Elementary, Eisenhower Elementary School, Harrison Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary and Washington Elementary School all reporting A letter grades.
Leesburg Elementary, Warsaw Community High School and Madison Elementary School all reported B letter grades. Edgewood Middle School reported a C grade and Lakeview Middle School a D letter grade.
“We are very proud of the hard work delivered by our students, educators and parents in preparing for the 2014-2015 ISTEP test,” noted David Hoffert, superintendent of Warsaw Community School Corporation. “We are thankful the state has passed legislation to provide accountability relief from flawed metrics. At this point the state and local districts view the 2014-2015 test as simply a new baseline.
“As a corporation, we look forward to evaluating the data now received as we enter the final preparations for the 2015-2016 ISTEP examination. We trust the State of Indiana will continue to review and modify standardized testing practices in order to provide an accurate reflection of our strong student performance.”
Other area schools include:
Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation: Akron Elementary School, C; Tippecanoe Valley High School, C; Mentone Elementary School, B; Tippecanoe Valley Middle School, D.
Whitko Community School Corporation: Pierceton Elementary School, A; Whitko Middle School, C; South Whitley Elementary School, B; Whitko High School, A.
Wawasee School Corporation: North Webster Elementary School, C; Wawasee Middle School, B; Milford School, B; Syracuse Elementary School, B; Wawasee High School, B.
Warsaw Christian Academy received a A letter grade from the state and Lakeland Christian Academy had a A letter grade for the year.
The past few years have been incredibly rocky ones for CTB-McGraw Hill, the company responsible for issuing the state standardized test. Students in third grade to ninth grade experienced technical difficulties across the state in 2013 when the company attempted to take test taking off of student’s desks and onto the internet. These disruptions led to numerous corporations claiming test results were negatively affected.
However complaints regarding the testing system are not new and did not cease following 2013’s issues. Teachers and administrators across the state have questioned the test as a means to determining teacher bonuses and school accountability letter grades.
Among issues noted in regards to ISTEP is that of growth measurement, which only awards points if a student’s score drastically changes, penalizing already high scoring schools that maintain excellence. In addition, many teachers have noted the stress placed on students and staff to achieve results in testing have all but diminished actual learning to simply “teaching to a test.” [See related: Why ISTEP Is Sucking The Joy Out Of Teaching]