Despite a much tougher exam that led to dramatic drops in test scores across the state, the top Marion County schools from townships and small cities posted solid test scores in 2015, largely holding their high rankings from the previous year.

Eight of the top 10 schools were ranked in the top 10 last year while two schools were newcomers to the top-ten list. The new arrivals were Washington Township’s John Strange and Allisonville elementary schools. Washington Township had three of the top 10 schools and and Franklin Township had four.

Chalkbeat in recent weeks has highlighted the top 10 IPS schools that beat odds on the 2015 exam, the 10 IPS schools that ranked lowest for percent passing ISTEP and the top 10 charter schools in the city when it came to passing the test. This week, we’re listing the top ten scores among the schools in Marion County’s non-IPS districts.

All of these schools had passing rates that easily exceeded the state average of 52.6 percent passing and none of them saw their passing rates drop by more than 17 percentage points, the average decline statewide. Here’s a look at the township schools that made the grade:

Mary Adams Elementary School, Franklin Township

Mary Adams Elementary School vaulted from fourth best on ISTEP among township ad small city schools in 2014 to the best in the city in 2015 .

Franklin Township's Mary Adams Elementary School was the top scoring township school in 2015.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Franklin Township’s Mary Adams Elementary School was the top scoring township school in 2015.

That leap was fueled by better-than-average performance on the new, tougher ISTEP. With 77.2 percent passing in 2015, Mary Adams was just 11 percentage points below its 2014 passing rate. That is much better than most schools did on the new test. The average Indiana school saw its ISTEP passing rate fall by 19 percentage points.

The school has been moving up the list of top scoring Indianapolis schools for several years. That is particularly impressive because the school has a higher percentage of children who come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch than most high-scoring schools. Meal assistance goes to 32 percent of the school’s students meaning their families earn less than $44,863 annually for a family of four. Still, the school’s poverty rate is well below the state average of 47.2 percent.

Of the 563 students in grade K-5 who attend Mary Adams, about 82 percent are white, 5 percent are Hispanic and 3 percent are black. About 12 percent of students were in special education and 4 percent were English language learners. The state averages in 2014-15 were 15 percent and 5 percent.

Bunker Hill Elementary School, Franklin Township

After two years as the top ranked Marion County township or small city school when it comes to ISTEP, Franklin Township’s Bunker Hill Elementary School slipped to second place this year.

Franklin Township's Bunker Hill Elementary School has the highest passing rate among township schools on ISTEP in 2015.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Franklin Township’s Bunker Hill Elementary School has the highest passing rate among township schools on ISTEP in 2015.

Its 74 percent passing rate in 2015 was down about 17 percentage points from the prior year. That drop was smaller than the 19-point drop experienced by the average Indiana school on the tougher new exam.

Bunker Hill serves 561 students in grades K to 5. About 31 percent come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. About 73 percent of students at the school are white, 12 percent are Asian, 6 percent are Hispanic and 4 percent are black.

About 13 percent were in special education and 6 percent were English language learners in 2014-15, the last year for which data is available.

John Strange Elementary School, Washington Township

John Strange Elementary School did not rank in the top 10 last year but this year placed third best on ISTEP among township and small city schools thanks to strong performance on the tougher 2015 exam.

Students work in small groups at John Strange Elementary School in Washington Township.
PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos
Students work in small groups at John Strange Elementary School in Washington Township.

With 74 percent passing ISTEP in 2015, John Strange was just six points below its 2014 passing rate. That is one of the smallest drops in the state.

That especially impressive because John Strange serves a high poverty student body. About 54 percent of students come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. High poverty schools generally have lower test scores than most schools.

A large school, John Strange serves 638 students in grades K-5. About 44 percent of students are black, 34 percent are white and 10 percent are Hispanic.

About 10 percent of students were in special education and 7 percent were English language learners in 2014-15, the last year for which data was available.

Amy Beverland Elementary School, Lawrence Township

Amy Beveralnd dropped a few spots down this list from No. 2 last year, but still had strong test performance in 2015.
With 73.6 percent passing, the school’s drop from the prior year was slightly better than the statewide average so Amy Beverland continued a five-year run of strong test performance.

Amy Beveralnd Elementary School in Lawrence Township was one of the county's top scoring schools.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Amy Beveralnd Elementary School in Lawrence Township was one of the county’s top scoring schools.

In general, students at Amy Beverland face fewer barriers to learning than most schools. About 25 percent of its students come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. About 10 percent were in special education and 3 percent were English language learners in 2014-15, the last year for which data is available. All three of those numbers are below the state averages.

The school has a large and growing enrollment with 806 students in grades 1 to 6. About 59 percent of the school’s students are white, 25 percent black and 5 percent Hispanic.

South Creek Elementary School, Franklin Township

A high scoring school for five years, Franklin Township’s South Creek also did well on the new ISTEP with 73.6 percent passing in 2015.

Franklin Township’s South Creek Elementary School has been rated an A for more than five years.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Franklin Township’s South Creek Elementary School has been rated an A for more than five years.

That’s down about 17 percentage points, which was in line with the average drop across the state.

The school serves 667 students in grades K-5. Just 21 percent of its students come from families poor enough to qualify for free and reduced price lunch.

About 15 percent of its students were in special education and 5 percent were English language learners.

About 81 percent of the school’s students are white, 5 percent are Hispanic and 3 percent are black.

Allison Elementary School, Speedway

Allison Elementary School in Speedway saw 72.7 percent pass ISTEP in 2015. That’s down about 16 percentage points from last year, which is slightly better than the average Indiana school.

James Allison Elementary School in Speedway scored well on ISTEP.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
James Allison Elementary School in Speedway scored well on ISTEP.

Allison Elementary has had strong performance on ISTEP the past five years, and it has done so despite serving students who face learning barriers that sometimes drag down test scores.

About 71 percent of the students come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. The school serves a small enrollment of about 291 students. About 35 percent are white, 32 percent are black and 20 percent are Hispanic.

It had a large number of children who are learning English as a second language at 22 percent and about 11 percent were in special education in 2014-15, the last year for which data is available.

Rosa Parks Elementary School, Perry Township

With about 72.5 percent passing ISTEP in 2015, Perry Township’s Rosa Parks Elementary School was about 14 percentage points below its 2014 passing rate. That’s a smaller decline than the average Indiana school experienced.

Rosa Parks Elementary School in Perry Township has been rated an A for five straight years.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Rosa Parks Elementary School in Perry Township has been rated an A for five straight years.

The school opened in 2003 under the management of EdisonLearning, a New York-based company and has mostly been a strong performer on tests in that time. The company no longer has a role at Rosa Parks.

About 721 students in grades K to 5 attend the school. About 31 percent of students come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced price lunch. About 67 percent of its students are white, 16 percent are Asian, 7 percent are Hispanic and 4 percent are black.

In 2014-15, the last year for which data is available, 17 percent of students were in special education and 10 percent were English language learners.

Crooked Creek Elementary School, Washington Township

Crooked Creek Elementary School in Washington Township saw fewer students pass ISTEP in 2015, but its passing rate dropped less than most Indiana schools.

Washington Township's Crooked Creek Elementary school has maintained a high ISTEP passing rate for several years.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Washington Township’s Crooked Creek Elementary school has maintained a high ISTEP passing rate for several years.

About 71.7 percent passed the test, down about 13 percentage points from 2014. That drop was not as deep as most schools in Indiana.

Crooked Creek has 720 students in grades K-5 and serves a high-poverty enrollment. About 48 percent of its students come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

The school is 45 percent black, 29 percent white and 12 percent Hispanic. About 13 percent of students were in special education and 9 percent were English language learners in 2014-15, the last year for which data is available.

Thompson Crossing Elementary School, Franklin Township

Franklin Township’s Thompson Crossing Elementary School saw its passing rate drop from the prior year, but by less than the average Indiana school.

Thompson Crossing Elementary School posted strong test scores second straight year.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Thompson Crossing Elementary School posted strong test scores second straight year.

About 71 percent of the school’s students passed the exam, down about 13 percentage points from the prior year.

The school’s test scores had been on the rise for I’ve years prior to the new, tougher ISTEP test.

Thompson Crossing has about 600 students enrolled in grades K-5. About 40 percent are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.

The school is about 71 percent white, 10 percent black and 8 percent Hispanic.

About 10 percent are in special education and 5 percent are English language learners in 2014-15, the last year for which data is available.

Allisonville Elementary School, Washington Township

Allisonville Elementary School in Washington Township saw about 68.3 percent of students pass ISTEP last year, down about 15 percentage points from the prior year.

Strong ISTEP scores placed Allisonville Elementary School into the county's top 10.
PHOTO: Scott Elliott
Strong ISTEP scores placed Allisonville Elementary School into the county’s top 10.

That smaller-than-average drop, compared tot he rest of the state, helped vault Allisonville into the city’s top 10 among township and small city school districts.

Allisonville is a large school serving 767 students in grades K-5. About 33 percent come from families that are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. About 61 percent are white, 17 percent are black and 12 percent are Hispanic.

About 14 percent of the school’s students were in special education and about 8 percent were learning English as a new language in 2014-15, the last year for which data is available.