Strong Accountability That is Fair and Transparent

Communities should be able to easily understand how their local schools are performing.

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Indiana’s students, parents, and communities deserve to know how the schools in their neighborhoods are performing. We have long assigned A-F grades to students as a tool to understand how they are doing in class and develop a plan to help them do better if needed. The letter grade system for schools is built on the same concept.

Like grades for students, a strong accountability system for schools looks at many factors, not just test scores. Holding schools accountable for things such as student improvement from one year to the next, graduation rate, End of Course Assessment (ECA) pass rate, and student performance on tests will allow us to recognize high-performing schools while also clearly identifying which schools must improve and in what areas.

School accountability allows everyone to understand how well a school is preparing students and empowers parents, educators and community members to work together to improve educational opportunities for all students.

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In 1999, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1750 (HEA 1750) which created Indiana’s accountability system (Public Law 221) and first required schools to receive an annual category placement. Federal school accountability, known as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), was first established in 2001 with the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. 

HEA 1750 also allows public schools to fail for six consecutive years before the state must take action. This could allow a student to spend half of their K-12 school years in an F rated school. Schools need clear goals and more immediate consequences if those goals are not met. Six years of failure is simply too long and Indiana students deserve better.

The Indiana State Board of Education adopted new rules in 2011 to update the school performance categories from “exemplary progress, commendable progress, academic progress, academic watch, and academic probation” to easy to understand A-F grades. 

Exemplary Progress: A
Commendable Progress: B
Academic Progress: C
Academic Watch: D
Academic Probation: F

These letter grades set goals for our schools based on student achievement and help school leaders assess what areas they need to address to ensure all students are successful. This system also allows families and communities to easily understand how well their school is preparing students for success.

In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly passed House Enrolled Act 1427 (HEA 1427) requiring the Department of Education to re-write A-F school accountability metrics “based on a measurement of individual student academic performance and growth to proficiency; and may not be based on a measurement of student performance or growth compared to peers.” An accountability system review panel was formed and submitted recommendations to the Indiana State Board of Education in October of 2013, but a formal system has not been adopted as of February 2017.

Whatever Indiana’s A-F system looks like for school accountability, it should dramatically increase transparency and empower parents, educators and community stakeholders to work together to improve educational opportunities for all students.

Talia Reed

MIddle School Teacher

As a public school teacher, I know that accountability is an integral part of learning and growing.  Because of Indiana's school accountability system, impo...

Erika Haskins

School Leader

All of the students in my school live at or below the poverty line and still overcome extensive barriers each day to make it to class for the chance to learn. Several will be ho...

Brooke Beavers


Tindley Summit Academy opened its doors for the first time in the fall of 2014. Led by Co-Principals, Brooke Beavers and Shy-Quon Ely II, Summit is the first Tindley school...