“It’s not a true reflection of what’s going on over there,” said Starkey. “When they got the information, it was devastating to them. They work very hard and they’re doing a lot of the right things.”
The good news, she said, was that the corporation’s other grades were acceptable. Logansport Community High School improved its score to a B from a D. Columbia Middle School and Lincoln Middle School both got Cs; Franklin and Fairview elementaries got A grades; and Landis Elementary got a B.
All Saints School, a small nonpublic school located in Logansport, received an A. Principal James McNeany expressed pride in the achievement of students and teachers at the school, but said the growth metric was “not really valid” from a research standpoint.
Elsewhere in Cass County, rural schools earned a mix of Bs, Cs and Ds.
Lewis Cass Junior-Senior High School and Thompson Elementary School both earned C grades, while Galveston Elementary got a D, a stark difference from last year’s A grade received under the old metric.
That’s “ludicrous,” said John Bevan, superintendent of Southeastern School Corporation, made up of Lewis Cass, Thompson and Galveston.
“There’s a whole bunch of reasons” for that criticism, he said. “I don’t care if we’d have gotten A’s. I just don’t think the system is statistically sound.”
In Bevan’s opinion, measuring growth — improvement over time — should be based on what’s technically called “criterion testing” against hard benchmarks: in other words, “you get there or you don’t get there. You got to the mark, you exceeded the mark, you didn’t get to the mark.”
What the state is using now is what’s called “norm-referenced testing.”
“That says no matter how much I grew, I am now being compared to another group and how well they did,” Bevan said. “That’s not statistically sound.”