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Boosting ILEARN Scores: IPS is Only District in Marion County at or above Pre-Pandemic Performance

Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) continues to show improvement in standardized test scores, becoming the only district in Marion County at or above pre-pandemic levels of performance in both math and English (ELA) on the 2023 ILEARN.

Overall, IPS scores rose by 1.6 percentage points in math and held steady in ELA in the ILEARN scores released on July 12 by the Indiana Department of Education. Tests are given to third- through eighth-grade students annually.

IPS Supt. Dr. Aleesia Johnson said that scores across the state and nation fell during the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in early 2020 and forced students to shift from in-person to online learning.

While educators across the nation believed that it would take years for students to return to pre-pandemic norms, hard work by IPS staff ensured that the district’s students continued to be engaged.

“The education landscape of Indianapolis has witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent years as IPS has shown progress in raising ILEARN scores,” Dr. Johnson said. “With a dedicated focus on academic excellence and innovative strategies, our schools have managed to improve student outcomes and create a pathway to success.

“We know we have a great deal of work to do, and we realize that gaps in our students’ academic outcomes still exist by race and income, and overall levels of proficiency must continue to improve,” she said. “We will continue to examine our data and our practices to positively impact learning for all students we serve.”

Highlights of the recent ILEARN results:

  • William McKinley School 39 continues its trend of strong math performance as 39.7% of students passed the test in 2023, up from 37.6% in 2022. 
  • Brookside School 54 more than doubled ELA and math proficiency from SY22 to SY 23. Math improved from 4.9% in 2022 to 10.9% in 2023. ELA improved from 4.3% in 2022 to 9.1% in 2023.
  • Eleanor Skillen School 34 more than doubled math proficiency from 7.3% in SY22 to 15.1% in SY23.
  • Arlington Middle School more than doubled its ELA proficiency from 4.5% in 2022 to 11.3% in 2023. 
  • Data trends were consistent across almost all subgroups.
  • IPS has achieved steady growth in graduation rates while the state graduation rate has declined slightly since 2019.

Dr. Johnson noted that the improvement in ILEARN scores within IPS is the result of collaborative efforts from various stakeholders and will continue under the Rebuilding Stronger initiative, which is designed to reinvent, rebuild, redesign, and rethink IPS’ family of schools.

“We will double down on our efforts to ensure that every student has a culturally relevant and rigorous academic experience. This work sets the stage for a generation of capable learners who are equipped to face the challenges of the 21st century.”