DeLaney calls for fair and accurate school accountability system amid school grade chaos

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) today expressed concern after the Indiana State Board of Education released the 2018-2019 A-F school letter grades under which schools and teachers are held harmless from the negative consequences of the latest standardized tests.

Championed by Republicans over the last decade, ILEARN and the many variations of standardized tests over the years have failed to accurately and fairly capture the performance of teachers, schools and students. The decision to sever the test scores from both teacher pay and school district ratings came after 2019 scores showed only 37.1 percent of students passing both math and English. Just a few short weeks before the state scores came out, we got the federal scores which do not hold anyone harmless.

“Two sets of data, with two sets of criteria, and two grading systems proves we have an unreliable system of assessing students and schools,” DeLaney said. “The supermajority ceded their pro-standardized testing position and claimed to hold schools and teachers harmless, while parents and taxpayers are left sorting through both federal and local school scores.”

After the hold harmless exemption, the A-F letter grades released earlier this week are much more favorable than both the latest federal scores and scores of previous years. The Indiana State Board of Education reports show 73 percent of schools receiving an A or B with a record low number of schools failing. Without the exemption, state officials said most schools would have received a D or F rating.

Additionally, under federal school ratings were released in January where only 87 of Indiana's 1800 rose to the highest score of “exceeding expectations.” 200 schools were deemed “not meeting expectations,” which is considered the lowest rating.

The federal results are derived from a different formula with starkly different results.

“While Indiana House Democrats and I have adamantly supported the decoupling of schools and teachers from test scores, it is irresponsible to leave no clear reliable measurement system in place,” DeLaney said. “It is time to adopt a state-legislated accountability system that can provide parents and taxpayers with the information required to make informed decisions about education.”

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