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State To Upgrade Letter Grade System

Last updated on Tuesday, May 28, 2013

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana’s A-through-F grades for schools will get a facelift this fall.

The letter grades for schools will remain, but legislators have ordered the State Board of Education to change the way those grades are calculated to make sure they incorporate both a pure performance measure and how much test scores have improved.

It's a change state school superintendent Glenda Ritz campaigned on. Ritz says she's pleased with the extra emphasis on growth -- and with a directive from the legislature that each school must be judged on its own, not in comparison to other schools. If a school shows progress despite poor overall scores, Ritz says that's a sign that steps the school has taken to improve are working. In contrast, she says, ranking a school against others doesn't provide any insight into what a school should do to get better.

Legislators abolished a rule automatically tagging all but the highest-performing schools with an F if their scores didn't improve. But they also enshrined the letter grades in state law. Ritz had suggested a return to categories such as "meets standards" or "needs improvement."

The new rules are due by November 15.

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