School Grades

Last year, East Noble School Corporation received their district grade along with a grade for each of its school buildings. This year, what will the grade be and is there any valid data that can be used to calculate that grade? State Superintendent Ritz along with some legislators are wanting the current grading system to change. In fact, the school grades for 2012-2013 have been delayed until sometime in November. There has been much controversy over school grades since former State Superintendent Tony Bennett was allegedly involved in altering the school grading system to improve the grade of a charter school.

Do you understand the grading system? Do you know how an “A,” “B,” C,” or any of the other grades are calculated? Some believe it is how well our students perform on the ISTEP test. Well, there is much more to the grade than that. Do you know there are bonus and penalty points? Do you know that our students who are the most challenged special education students count against our graduation rate which affects the school grade? Do you know that a non-English speaking student new to the country does not have to take the language arts test, but they do have to take the math test that has multiple story problems that need to be read? Do you know that a district is expected to teach a non-English speaking student the English language in one year! They are exempt from the language arts test during just their first year to the country. Do you now that the state measures language arts growth of a sophomore student by comparing the 8th grade ISTEP test produced by CTB/McGraw Hill to an 10th grade English test produced by Questar. Two different tests and two different companies

The grade is calculated in part using the ISTEP test scores and other elements included. Those elements are performance, improvement, year-to-year growth in individual student learning compared to other students in the state, closing achievement gaps, graduation rates, and opportunities for students to gain an early advantage on college and careers (advanced placement, dual college credits, and certifications). Schools earn points for each of these areas and also bonus or penalty points. For additional information on the grading system, go to this PowerPoint presentation prepared by Assistant Superintendent Becca Lamon: School Grading A-F Model

I told the 2013 East Noble Academy members last week that I would put ENSC against any other district in our area. We are focused on doing what is best for the individual student and ensuring they have the needed skills, experiences, and exposure outside of the school walls that address the “whole” child and not just mathematics and language arts. Obviously, math and English are critical to a student’s success. Math and English are the foundation skills that direct and can dictate a child’s future. However, only focusing on math and English creates a very narrow perspective for our students and inhibits their ability to effectively choose the direction of their future. While there is room for improvement, our school grades certainly do not reflect the true quality of instruction and student achievement that is occurring daily in our buildings.

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