Bartholomew County schools see mixed results in federal evaluations

Public schools in Bartholomew County received mixed ratings from the Indiana Department of Education’s Federal 2018-2019 School Accountability Ratings, released to the public Friday.

A school receives one of four ratings — exceeds expectations, meets expectations, approaches expectations or does not meet expectations — based on the points earned for each available accountability indicator.

Schools are measured on academic achievement, academic progress, closing achievement gaps, graduation rates, English language proficiency, strength of diploma and addressing chronic absenteeism.

Five Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. schools received ratings of “approaches expectations” while nine schools were rated at “meet expectations.” One school, Columbus Signature Academy — Lincoln Elementary, “exceeds expectations.”

Hope Elementary in Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. met expectations in 2018-2019, and Hauser Jr./Sr. High School approached expectations, according to the federal accountability system.

Most Indiana high schools, including Columbus East, Columbus North high schools and Hauser Jr./Sr. High School, either did not meet expectations for English learner progress or were not rated. Northside Middle School also did not meet expectations for English learner progress, according to the federal accountability system.

Two BCSC elementary schools and both Central Middle School and Northside Middle School fell short of approaching or meeting expectations on the math closing gap indicator.

BCSC Superintendent Jim Roberts said in consideration of this year’s federal ratings, the corporation is reminded of the “outstanding job” that teachers and support staff do to educate children.

“Regardless of the constant change in the annual mandatory assessment, whether it be the measurement of a different set of standards or a change in the format and administration of the test, we continue to stay focused on the needs of our students,” Roberts said.

Hauser Jr./Sr. High School’s seventh and eighth grades did not meet expectations on three academic indicators — English/language arts closing gaps, math closing gaps and English/language arts academic progress. The high school did exceed expectations for graduation rates.

Due to differences between federal and state accountability requirements, for the second year Indiana schools are being assessed under two accountability systems.

In an effort to provide more clarity and move away from the issuance of two grades, however, the United States Department of Education approved IDOE’s amendment to Indiana’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, which allows for Indiana schools to receive federal accountability ratings in lieu of federal accountability grades.

The purpose of the federal accountability system is to provide actionable data that is accessible and aligned to long-term policy goals for student achievement, according to the IDOE.

The change, however, also allows for a better understanding of the system as a tool to more accurately measure achievement and provide motivated progress towards success, as opposed to it simply becoming a punitive mark, the IDOE stated in a press release Friday.

Over 56 percent of high schools and 53 percent of elementary and middle schools statewide received a rating of “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations.”

A request was made in 2019 by Indiana State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick and the Indiana General Assembly to pass a bill during the upcoming 2020 legislative session that would hold schools harmless from 2018-2019 state accountability grades. That request came in reaction to low test scores on the spring 2019 administration of the ILEARN test, the first for the most recent modification to the previously well-recognized ISTEP+.

The State Board of Education has also adopted a resolution withholding any vote to release state accountability grades until the General Assembly has officially taken action in the upcoming 2020 legislative session.

“These Federal School Accountability Ratings, which are based on the Spring 2019 administration of ILEARN, are being released regardless of the statewide concern with the new assessment, albeit in the form of a designation and not a letter grade,” Roberts said.

As the corporation addresses the growing number and severity of challenges that its students face, Roberts said BCSC staff members know their true impact is measured on their students’ faces — “not the artificial numbers derived from a constantly changing assessment.”

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A complete listing of federal accountability ratings and how they’re calculated is available at https://www. Scroll down to the “federal results”  listings.