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Schools in Indiana “have more work to do,” according to assessment results



Indianapolis, Indiana – As the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, results from this year’s educational assessment tests for Indiana’s elementary and middle school students reveal mixed results.

Math proficiency ratings for kids in grades three through eight increased by 1.5 percentage points from the previous year, with 40.9% of pupils meeting or exceeding state criteria. However, language arts scores decreased by 0.5 percentage points to 40.7%.

On the website of the Indiana Department of Education, you can get the complete data set.

The second year in a row that math competence has increased is encouraging, according to Secretary of Education Katie Jenner, as math learning suffered the worst decline during the pandemic. Jenner did acknowledge that “there’s no doubt we have more work to do” in terms of assisting pupils.

“English/language arts is an area where many students continue to need additional support, particularly our English Learner and middle school students,” she said. “We knew that experts were projecting years in recovery time, and yet, the urgency is real and requires us all to keep our foot on the gas pedal.”

Jenner urged educators and administrators around the state to prioritize reading while continuing to emphasize the value of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

All of the state’s schools need to improve, according to the statewide test results, according to Robert Enlow, president and CEO of EdChoice, and Betsy Wiley, president of The Institute for Quality Education.

“The rates of proficiency that we observe are not where they need to be if Indiana wants to be a hub of innovation, entrepreneurship, and social mobility,” they said. “The gaps that we observe between different racial groups and between different geographic areas paint a disconcerting picture of the academic quality of our state, a picture that is worrisome for our communities, our democracy, and our economy.”

Even so, the supporters of school choice found some encouraging data in the findings. Schools that accept vouchers had proficiency rates in math and language arts that were over 16 points higher than those of typical public schools. In comparison to their peers attending regular public schools, voucher schools have higher rates of Black and Hispanic kids.

The scores at voucher schools were 24.4 and 22.5 percentage points better in Marion County, the most populous county in the state.

“These results show that while there is always room to improve, the students who receive scholarships to attend private schools in Indiana are performing better than their peers in traditional public schools,” they said.
Indiana lawmakers increased their investment in the state’s voucher program earlier this year. The state budget passed in late April expands eligibility for the Choice Scholarship program to families making up to 400% of the income threshold for free and reduced lunches.


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