INDIANAPOLIS – A working group of education experts announced Thursday will have two months to analyze and make recommendations for a new school accountability grading system.
Gov. Mike Pence, House Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate President Pro Tem David Long and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the Accountability System Review Panel.
The 17-member group will make recommendations regarding new categories or designations for school performance.
The state annually gives schools an A-F grade largely based on student test scores.
The accountability grades came under fire earlier this year after former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett instituted a new calculation method for the grades. Lawmakers passed legislation in April moving to a new system.
Then in late July an Associated Press report showed that Bennett and staff scurried to change the grade of a specific charter school when it unexpectedly came in at a C during an initial calculation. Bennett resigned from his post in Florida as education chief.
The new Accountability System Review Panel is the second group working on the A-F issue. This month Bosma and Long appointed a bipartisan task force to evaluate the A-F tool, determine its validity, ascertain the fairness of the previous grades given to schools and determine whether manipulations of the system occurred.
A report from that group is due next week.
The new panel will look forward to new rankings going into effect next year.
The group is tasked with making recommendations on the A-F accountability system, including basing measurements on individual academic performance and growth. It specifically says the group cannot focus on student performance and growth compared to peers.
Other topics include considering a wide range of data beyond ISTEP+ and examining other states accountability systems.
The Department of Education, House, Senate and Governors Office each will appoint four members. Of each entitys four appointments, one must be a teacher, one must be a principal, one must be a superintendent and one must be a technical adviser.
Ritz will also be on the panel as a co-chair alongside another member chosen by the group. Initial appointments are expected next week, and a report is due by Nov. 1.
The State Board of Education must revise the A-F metric by Nov. 15.