Indiana Coalition for
Public Education
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Good News About Indiana Public Schools

A 23 YEAR REVIEW:  IMPROVEMENT IN INDIANA’S SCHOOLS -- An executive summary follows, to read the complete report, click here.

Victor A. Smith, Ed.D.         June 12, 2013

 

SUMMARY:  To many Hoosiers, the message still comes as a surprise:  Indiana’s public schools clearly improved during the past 23 years.  The data are available from the Indiana Department of Education, the College Board, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Postsecondary Opportunity and ACT, Inc.  Performance on ten indicators from 1988-89 through 2011-12 formed the basis for this positive conclusion:

 

  1. ATTENDANCE RATE 

*Hoosier public schools have successfully raised daily attendance in 17 of the past 23 years. The latest 2011-12 rate of 96.1% repeats the highest level ever reached in 2008-09.

  1. GRADUATION RATE

*A new cohort method shows 88.4% graduated in four years or less in the Class of 2012, up from 85.7, 84.1%, 81.5%, 77.8%, 76.4%, and 76.1% in the last six graduating classes.

*The dropout rate was 6.1% for the Class of 2011, improving from 6.4%, 8.7%, 10.3%, 11.9% and 11.2% in five previous years of the new system which tracks every student.

  1. SAT VERBAL SCORES

*Verbal scores rose from 490 in ’88-’89 to an historic high of 504 in 2004-05.

*Since then, a revised SAT shows Reading and Writing scores separately.                                        

Reading has fallen to 493 in 2011-12, down from 498 in 2005-06.  Writing has

fallen to 476 in 2011-12, down from 486 in 2005-06.       

*These scores came while Indiana tested 69% of all graduates, 21% more than the nation as a whole, thus giving more marginal students a chance at college.

  1. SAT MATH SCORES

*Math scores on the old SAT went up from 487 in ’88-’89 to 508 in 2004-05, another top performance in state history.

*In the seven years of the revised SAT, Indiana scored 509, 507, 508, 507, 503, 501 and 501, dropping 8 points from the peak performance level of 509 in 2005-06 when rigor increased.

  1. ACT COMPOSITE SCORES

*Indiana’s composite score on the ACT remained at 22.3 in 2011-12, the highest mark in state history. Indiana ACT scores have exceeded national averages in all 23 years of the study.

  1. NATIONAL ASSESSMENT (NAEP) SCORES

*On National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) basic scores, Indiana outperformed the nation on all 41 NAEP assessments since 1990.

*On the NAEP proficient standard, Indiana outperformed the nation on 31 of 41 tests.

  1. ISTEP ENGLISH/LANGUAGE ARTS SCORES

*In 67 valid year-to-year comparisons over 14 years and 8 grades, 33 (49%) went up, 18 (27%) went down, and 16 (24%) were stable.  More went up than down by a clear margin.

  1. ISTEP MATH SCORES

*In 67 valid year-to-year comparisons, 42 (63%) went up, 14 (21%) remained stable, and 11 (16%) went down, showing a clear trend of improvement.

  1. PERCENT OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES GOING TO COLLEGE

*The percent of graduates aspiring to college went up 20 of the 21 years to reach 77.0% in 2009-10, the highest level in state history.  IDOE no longer has this percent on its website.

10.  STUDENTS EARNING ACADEMIC HONORS OR CORE 40 DIPLOMAS *For all 23 years of the study, more students every year earned either the 47-credit Academic Honors Diploma or the Core 40 diploma, reaching a record total of 81.9% in the Class of 2012.

CONCLUSION: Improvement is clear.  Public schools in Indiana have improved more than is widely believed. Voucher laws have passed based on ideology, not on improvement data.