Updated: Thursday, 01 Nov 2012, 7:02 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 01 Nov 2012, 5:44 PM EDT
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A day after Indiana officials released school evaluation grades, supporters and critics of the “A through F” grading system are making their cases.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said Wednesday that the grades, which incorporate both federal and state education regulations, are already yielding improvement in school performance.
“What we’re seeing here is teachers, schools and school leaders answering to accountability, looking at this information and utilizing it to drive school performance,” Bennett said. “I think that’s positive.”
Bennett pointed out that more than 80 percent of schools received A, B or C grades.
Bennett’s challenger in the November election, Democrat Glenda Ritz, said the means of calculating those grades are not clear enough and that she would favor a more transparent system of evaluating schools.
“The stakes are high, and school districts and parents deserve to have a simplified system in which they know how it’s calculated and they can verify the calculations,” Ritz said. “That’s not the case right now.”
For his part, Bennett admitted that the calculation of these scores is complex, but he said the end result is easy for community members to understand.
“I actually had someone share with me that, in many instances, it’s like the safety rating for a car. You understand the rating, but you don’t really understand all the things that go into the rating all the time,” Bennett said. “But you want to make sure the car’s safe. That’s what we’ve tried to do.”
Ritz also pointed out that state officials delayed the final release of these grades this fall. Bennett said those delays are largely the result of careful adjustment to scores and appeals from schools.
“We really wanted to get this right,” Bennett said.
To view scores for individual schools, click here .
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