Unfair grading causes stir

Public Law 221 was created to set up a new system of accountablitiy for public schools in Indiana. This

Graphic by Summer Haynes

system gives a letter grade A through F much like a student’s report card. Unlike a students report card, however, these grades are based on progress of the schools standardized test scores and not on the quality of them.  Not only is this system of ranking unfair, it is misleading and could eventually produce a counterproductive  result.

This plan is unfair because schools who are producing subpar results are being ranked higher than those who produce excellent results. A school that consistently obtains high test scores will receive a low grading because their improvement rate is low, while a school that improves but still produces low scores will be ranked highly. This is unfair because lower-quality schools are being rewarded for being lower-quality schools.

This grading system is also very misleading for anyone trying to decide what schools are the best in the state of Indiana. Schools given an A are actually schools that have just recently improved and have not consistently been exemplary schools, while consistently high acheiving schools would be listed as C or below. This is as logical as putting a student who improves from an F to a D above an all A student in class rank.

Eventually this system could become counterproductive and cause schools to purposely lower their scores to be able to improve. Supporters of this system may believe taht it will cause positive competition and encourage struggling schools to work harder, but they do not take into account those schools who are not struggling. Eventually these consistent schools will grow weary of not being recognized for their job well done and will lower scores in order to raise them.

The solution to the problem of Public Law 221 is simple. Schools cannot be graded solely on improvement in test scores. While this should be a factor of the grade a school recieves, other factors such as consistency in test scores, graduation rates, and conduct should be considered as well.

Everyone would agree that this system would be an inappropriate way to grade students, so why should it be applied to schools? Not only is it unfair, misleading, and potentially counterproductive, it is blatanly one-dimensial.

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