When “grading” the schools after ISTEP scores have been released, are poverty levels and other factors that are beyond the teacher’s control (as demonstrated by Greg Marchant’s research graph) taken into consideration?

Lanane:

  • Poverty levels of the student population do not impact ISTEP scores.
  • school districts have the flexibility to create their teacher evaluation models aslong as DOE approves them.
  • The legislature passed a “hold-harmless” policy this session which allows schoolsto use the 2013-2014 A-F grades if the 2014-2014 grades decreased due to the ISTEP .

Baule:

Not at all. There is no consideration of poverty level, number of special needs students, or ethnic considerations on the exams.

What besides ISTEP scores figures into school grades? What should count in evaluating the effectiveness of a school?

Lanane:

  • The Indiana Department of Education and the State Board of Education proposed the new A-F Accountability model that will award points to schools based on student growth and progress.
  • Student growth from year to year should factor in heavily in rating the effectiveness of a school.

Baule:

Grades are currently calculated based upon ISTEP+ scores, ISTEP participation rate, graduation rates for high schools and participation in college and career readiness programs. The complete information can be found at the IDOE website

http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/accountability/faq-indianas- student-centered-accountability-system.pdf

What should count in evaluating the effectiveness of a school?
That is an excellent question. Graduation rates, attendance, extra-curricular participation, failure rates, college matriculation rates, IB or Advanced Placement course participation, scope of curriculum, and student growth are all things that should be considered.

Are realtors—who want to sell houses—partly responsible for loss of tax base by recommending areas with high rated schools based upon state testing results?

Lanane:

  • Unaware of this issue.

Baule:

Possibly, but only to a limited extent. Schools must do a better job of selling themselves to the realtor community.