The Structural Curve In Indiana’s New School Grading System

Posted by on November 1, 2012

The State of Indiana has received a great deal of attention for its education reform efforts, and they recently announced the details, as well as the first round of results, of their new “A-F” school grading system. As in many other states, for elementary and middle schools, the grades are based entirely on math and reading test scores.

It is probably the most rudimentary scoring system I’ve seen yet – almost painfully so. Such simplicity carries both potential advantages (easier for stakeholders to understand) and disadvantages (school performance is complex and not always amenable to rudimentary calculation).

In addition, unlike the other systems that I have reviewed here, this one does not rely on explicit “weights,” (i.e., specific percentages are not assigned to each component). Rather, there’s a rubric that combines absolute performance (passage rates) and proportions drawn from growth models (a few other states use similar schemes, but I haven’t reviewed any of them).

On the whole, though, it’s a somewhat simplistic variation on the general approach most other states are taking — but with a few twists. Read More »


The Indiana Model

Posted by on January 27, 2012

Indiana is well on its way to becoming a ‘right-to-work’ state this week, with the state’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives approving new legislation and the Senate poised to follow suit. The legislation weakens union protections and enables individual workers to refuse to pay their share of union representation costs, even if a majority of their coworkers have voted for union representation and the union is legally obligated to pay to bargain for and protect their rights on the job. It is the first Midwestern manufacturing state to pass such a bill, though other Republican-dominated state legislatures are considering similar legislation.

One of the most interesting things about this move is just how unpopular it is. According to the AFL-CIO, only one-third of Indiana voters favor the legislation and more than 70 percent of them want the question submitted to a vote, via a state referendum. So why, in an election year, have Republican politicians decided to push forward? Read More »


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