Five Westfield Washington Schools drop letter grades


By Noah Alatza

At least five of Westfield Washington Schools have dropped a letter grade, while the middle school is currently awaiting an appeal from the state’s board of education.

Supt. Sherry Grate said the district has many other tools that are available to monitor students’ academic status, not just the state’s school accountability grade.

“We have other measures to monitor progress,” Grate said. “Honestly, the results of ISTEP do not prove helpful, we have NWEA, iReady math and PSAT to provide more options.”

The appellate motion was filed following a mishap in invalidated tests at the middle school last spring. WWS officials were forced to invalidate 34 scores due to incorrect guidelines provided.

Grate also noted the district’s current appeal process following ISTEP+ issues at the middle school but said she does not know how it will turn out.

Indiana’s ISTEP+ exam will be removed from testing after the Spring 2018 session. Grate said she is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming ILEARN Exam.

“We had some challenges with the current ISTEP test,” Grate said. “I am cautiously optimistic about (the ILEARN test), from the standpoint that this will be a computer-adaptive test. I’m also optimistic that we will not be testing for several months, hopefully it will be more managed. The first year (of testing) will take a little longer, however the law says we should have scores back by July 1.”

Grate said the district also is looking at more than one piece of information, with triangulating data and staying “more informed.”

In a June press release, the Indiana Dept. of Education acknowledged the mix-up could affect grades but did not provide further details.

“The department does not have any authority under current statutes to address or rectify this concern,” the release stated.

Grate said she is thankful for the hard work of teachers and student achievement.