INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 60 percent of Indiana public and private schools earned A's or B's for student progress during the 2011-2012 school year, while about 150 schools received failing grades that could eventually position them for state takeover unless they improve, state education officials said Wednesday.
The State Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the grades for public, charter and private schools across the state.
The grading system, which awards marks of A through F, is based largely on student standardized test scores, graduation rates and college and career readiness. Critics have argued that the rules used to come up with the grades are unfair and inaccurate.
Education officials said eight schools that received F's for the 2010-11 school year got A's last school year, and overall 43 schools improved by at least three letter grades. Twenty-eight schools that earned failing grades for the 2010-11 school year earned C's or higher this year, officials said. More than 200 schools earned A's for the first time this year.
The state hired private companies last year to take over four schools in Indianapolis and one in Gary following six consecutive years of poor student scores. One of those schools, Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis, was given a B this year.
Officials said there were no schools marked for takeover this year.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said this year's grades showed the new rules, which place a high premium on schools' academic improvement, worked despite criticism.
"The results of our new approach to grading schools are already making a measurable difference in student performance," Bennett said in a statement.
Indiana received a waiver from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act from the U.S. Department of Education in February. The changes allowed under that waiver helped many schools that had previously repeatedly received C's, officials said.