A majority of Indiana's school districts are now rated an "A" for test performance as both schools and school districts made strong gains in the state ratings.
Some schools with lower grades will receive the equivalent of an asterisk, suggesting that their grade should have been higher.
This year's ratings, released today by the Indiana Department of Education, for the first time use an "A to F" grading scale in conjunction with five categories previously known as exemplary progress: (A), commendable progress (B), academic progress (C), academic watch (D) and academic probation (F).
In converting to the new letter grade scale, Indiana was supposed to have new rules that would, among other things, eliminate a requirement that reduces grades for schools that fail to make "adequate yearly progress" under federal law.
AYP tracks "subgroups" of students traditionally considered at risk of failure -- such as ethnic minorities, handicapped children and poor children. Test score improvement targets are set for those subgroups that schools must meet to earn AYP.
Under Indiana's current rule, schools that fail to make AYP can earn no higher than a C, a category that used to be called "academic progress," no matter how high they score overall. With the move to letter grades, superintendents and principals have argued that schools deserving of excellent "A" grades are forced to be labeled as average with a "C."