The Indiana Department of Education is developing a new school performance dashboard that will expand how schools are measured beyond standardized test scores.
From kindergarten through 8th grade, the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed (GPS) scorecard will include metrics such as third-grade literacy, eighth-grade math proficiency, student attendance, advanced courses before Grade 9 and 21st Century Scholars Enrollment.
In high school, it includes SAT performance, attendance, college and vocational degrees, strength of degree, completion of graduation paths, and FAFSA completion rate.
The new scoreboard is part of legislation passed in 2021, House Bill 1514.
“The goal is to provide more robust data to parents, policymakers and the public so they are better informed about the situation in their local schools,” said State Rep. Bob Behning, who chairs the House Education Committee. “It’s really about providing more transparency.”
The process began by identifying five characteristics that students should possess when they graduate from high school: academic proficiency; preparation for career and post-secondary education: credentials and experience; communication and collaboration; work ethic; and civic, financial and digital literacy.
“These are characteristics that our students need to acquire throughout their K-12 education so that when they graduate, they have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed, regardless of their educational path. career,” whether it’s post-secondary education, employment or enlistment, said Holly Lawson, spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Education.
The first version of the dashboard will be released this fall. “It’s going to be user-friendly information,” Lawson said. “It will be a living, breathing dashboard that can be updated and modified when we have new data.”
The state also plans to work with local school districts to include indicators that a local district might want to highlight.
Why the change?
According to the state’s DOE website, the scorecard moves away from more punitive actions, such as state takeovers of underperforming schools, to focus on improvement.
It is described as a “paradigm shift in terms of school accountability for Indiana”. It moves away from reliance on state standardized test scores.
The state no longer “supports” underperforming schools, Behning said. “We don’t have a stellar history of significant performance improvements” with takeovers. “It’s been a struggle.”
Instead, state leaders are turning to the scorecard to better measure school and student performance and improvement.
While the punitive aspect of state takeovers may be gone, Behning suggests that scorecards will provide families with information to help them make decisions about which schools their children attend.
Families now have more choices, including through the use of government vouchers.
“There are many options available today,” he said. Furthermore, he believes that “competition has always resulted in better overall performance.”
Schools will not receive an AF letter grade from the state for academic performance this year; this will be the fourth year schools have been held harmless or not given a letter grade.
Behning anticipates that some of the scorecard metrics will be used for school grades coming out for the 2022-23 school year, which will be determined by the state board of education.
“I have concerns about how grades are calculated now,” he said. “I think once the dashboard comes out this year, it will reflect more of the metrics that are important to include in a note.”
Grades are calculated according to a formula adopted by the Council of State. Currently, elementary grades are based primarily on ILEARN scores. In high school, they were based on state tests as well as college and career readiness criteria.
The initial dashboard launching this fall “won’t be as robust as it will be,” Behning said.
The state eventually hopes to include what are described as “aspirational” indicators, in which it has yet to develop ways to measure them using data, Lawson said.
These include “Kindergarten Readiness” and “Career Exploration” in K-8; from grades 9 to 12, it includes “high quality work-based learning” and “civics/financial/digital skills”.
Once the state develops ways to measure the aspirational indicators, they will be added to future versions of the GPS dashboard, Lawson said.
The GPS dashboard will also include data for subgroups to ensure schools meet the needs of all children, Behning said.
A positive gesture
Brad Balch, dean of Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education, views the scorecard as a positive step.
“It’s a much more realistic way to measure academic performance instead of focusing on a single test,” he said. “The five domains represent, for me, a fundamental shift in how we focus on continuous improvement in Indiana, minimizing the punitive implications that are often associated with school-wide school performance scorecards. ‘State.”
Balch was recently asked to help with the dashboard’s ongoing development, he said Monday.
Terry Spradlin, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association, also praises the new scoreboard.
He credited the DOE and the state Board of Education for “significant work and collaboration” in developing the system, in which they convened a number of stakeholder groups for input. Spradlin participated in some of these meetings.
“Overall, I’m confident that the Indiana GPS Dashboard will provide the public with valuable and insightful information about the academic progress” of students and schools, he said.
In the long term, the ISBA hopes the Indiana GPS dashboard will replace the current AF schools accountability framework, he said.
“The AF system has lost credibility and value, given the multiple innocuous waivers of grade calculations granted by the legislature since 2019 and due to the emphasis” on state testing, Spradlin said.
The ISBA would not support the use of post-graduation measures for accountability purposes for secondary schools or school corporations, he said.
Among students in grades 9-12, the scorecard indicators are employment/enrollment (in higher education) three years after graduation as well as median income per capita at a certain time after graduating from high school.
“Those kinds of factors that we felt were beyond the control or influence of school officials and educators once a student graduated,” Spradlin said. “High schools and school corporations should not be held accountable for things they can no longer impact or influence.”
Vigo County educators react
State Representative Tonya Pfaff, D-Terre Haute, and high school math teacher, says the scorecard is a step in the right direction.
“Different schools have different needs for students and it’s important to be able to support each student on their educational journey,” said Pfaff, who serves on the House Education Committee. “The more resources schools have, the more opportunities they can provide. A dashboard could help demonstrate areas of success and areas of need.”
This new dashboard is still a work in progress, she said. This can help schools better prepare students for life after high school, however, how the information is used is important.
“We have to remember that students are more than data points,” Pfaff said. “We need to make sure the data is used to help schools, not penalize them.”
Among those asked to provide feedback to the state as it worked on the scorecard was Sarah Gore, principal of Otter Creek Middle School. She and other educators were consulted because of their work with the Indiana Association of School Principals.
She provided feedback on the metrics, potential targets, and dashboard design. “We are very grateful for this opportunity,” she said.
“GPS will provide schools with an array of indicators to help tell the school’s story, and it will help communities engage in meaningful conversations about education,” she said.
Data is what data is, she says. But in addition to showing areas in need of improvement, the dashboard will also provide information on what schools are doing well.
It will be a new system for schools, which will have to learn how to use data to contribute to improvement. “We are ready for this challenge and eager to do so,” Gore said.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.