A majority of the Madison schools scored a C or higher on the Indiana Department of Education's school accountability evaluation for the 2011-2012 school year, and the corporation increased its rating by a letter grade.

Deputy Elementary School and the former Anderson Elementary School received an A. Lydia Middleton Elementary School and Madison Consolidated High School got a B. The former Dupont Elementary School and Rykers' Ridge Elementary School each received a C, and E.O. Muncie Elementary School and Madison Junior High School each received a D.

Southwestern Junior and Senior High School scored a D. The elementary school scored a C, down from an A last year.

Pope John Elementary School received an A and Shawe Memorial Junior-Senior High School received a B. Christian Academy of Madison also received a B.

Dupont, Anderson and the high school all showed improvement from last year's ratings, but E.O. Muncie and Rykers' Ridge both slipped two letter grades, and Lydia Middleton fell from an A to a B.

"We're pleased where we're at, but we have some work to do," Madison Consolidated Schools Superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger said of the new scores.

Bolinger said a noteworthy achievement is that Deputy has received an A from the state for the past three school years.

The overall MCS district grade for 2011-2012 is a C, up from a D last year. The MCS grade is based on overall student performance and student achievement growth for the district.

"While we are making academic progress, our goal will be to continue to increase student achievement for every student in our district," said a news release from the school district.

On Monday, Bolinger and Katie Jenner, director of secondary learning, will hold an informational meeting to explain the new A-to-F accountability report card and the calculation of the letter grades. The meeting is open to the public and will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Madison Consolidated Schools administration building.

The Indiana State Board approved the new grades - which were presented by Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett - at its monthly meeting Wednesday morning. The grades were posted in spreadsheet form on the Indiana Department of Education website, www.doe.in.gov.

Across the state, 40.9 percent of public and private schools earned As, 20.1 percent earned Bs, and 20.3 percent earned Cs. Only 11.6 percent of schools earned D and 7.1 were handed Fs. Last year, about 47 percent of schools received an A and 5 percent received Fs.

This year, 207 schools received As for the first time.

"This is a very good day for Indiana schools," Bennett said during the meeting.

New rules for the A-to-F formula were approved in February after Indiana received a waiver from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act from the U.S. Department of Education. Given the provisions, Indiana will no longer release annual information on schools' "adequate yearly progress."

In the new grading formula, elementary school ratings are based on performance, improvement and student growth and what Bennett called "closing achievement gaps." The high school formula is based on student testing performance, improvement, on-time graduation rates, and college and career readiness.

Krista Stockman, a spokeswoman for Fort Wayne Community Schools, which is the state's largest school district, said it wasn't valid to compare this year's results with last year's because the new system measures a student's progress against other students of similar achievement levels instead of against that student's own improvement over time.

"Even though a student may grow or do better, if they didn't do as well as others they might not be counted as growth," said Stockman. She said her district of more than 30,000 students received a C despite three consecutive years of increased passing rates on the state's standardized ISTEP test.

"This year our growth was larger than the state's growth and we end up a C district. There's no easy explanation," Stockman said.

On Wednesday, Bennett also reported that 28 schools that received Fs for the 2010-2011 school year earned Cs or higher this year. Eight of those schools each moved from an F to an A. Overall, 43 schools moved up at least three letter grades.

The state grading system permits a state takeover if the school receives a failing grade for six consecutive years. About 150 schools received failing grades, but no schools were marked for takeover this year, state Department of Education spokesman Alex Damron said.

Bennett's opponent in the upcoming election, Democrat Glenda Ritz, called for an independent audit of the newly-approved school grades. She said they are "artificial" because they don't truly measure individual student achievement, but instead compare students in different schools.

"I think the entire formula is flawed because you're creating artificial measures," Ritz told reporters after the board vote. "We don't know the true performance levels of our kids."

Bennett said this year's grades showed that the new grading formula, which places greater emphasis on schools' academic improvement, worked despite the criticism.

"I believe that what we're seeing here is teachers, schools, school leaders answering to their accountability and using it to drive student improvement," he said.



The Associated Press contributed to this report