Among the state’s 289 school corporations, most low-poverty corporations got As and Bs. But nearly three-quarters of high-poverty corporations got a grade of C or worse.
School corporation grades reflect the same criteria that go into grades for individual schools: 2013 performance and growth on standardized tests for students in elementary and middle schools, and test results, graduation rates and “college and career readiness” factors for high schools. Corporation grades are prorated by the number of students in elementary-middle and high schools.
For corporations, I used the same methodology that Matthew Di Carlo of the Shanker Institute used last year to show that Indiana school grades were correlated with poverty. Corporations were divided into four quartiles according to the percentage of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches.
You can download a spreadsheet with the data here. Results include:
- Top quartile (5-36 percent FRL): 50 corporations received As, 16 received Bs and six received Cs.
- Second quartile (36-45 percent FRL): 20 corporations received As, 32 received Bs, 19 received Cs and one received a D.
- Third quartile (45-55 percent FRL): 19 corporations received As, 19 received Bs, 30 received Cs and four received Ds.
- Bottom quartile (55-95 percent FRL): five corporations received As, 15 received Bs, 36 received Cs, 13 received Ds and four received Fs.
Three of the four corporations that got Fs – Indianapolis Public Schools, Gary and East Chicago – are urban districts with some of the highest poverty rates in the state. The fourth, Medora, is a tiny rural district in Southern Indiana, also with high poverty.
Under legislation approved a year ago, Indiana will move away from its current grading system but will continue giving A-to-F grades to schools and corporations. If we’re going to grade schools and school districts, let’s hope the new system measures something more than how rich or poor they are.