ISTEP panel releases non-specific report on replacing ISTEP test

Democrat Glenda Ritz smiles on the steps of the old St. Joseph County Courthouse in downtown South Bend on Friday, June 5, 2015. (Krystal Vivian/95.3 MNC)

The state committee established to suggest ideas for replacing Indiana’s troubled ISTEP exam has released its recommendations.

The full report, provided below, doesn’t specifically identify what to replace the ISTEP exam with, but does give lawmakers a few guidelines for moving forward:

Istep Recommendations 112916 by Saige Driver on Scribd

Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was one of two votes against the proposal Tuesday afternoon. According to a press release issued by the Indiana Department of Education, the recommendations are a continuation of the current ISTEP exam.

Superintendent Ritz issued the following statement:

“When I first decided to run for this office, it was because I knew that our schools spent too much time on testing and not enough time on learning.  I have spent the last four years fighting for this issue.  Wherever I go throughout the state, I constantly hear from Hoosiers that want to get rid of ISTEP and replace it with a system that is focused on students and fair for our schools. 

“For the first time in a generation, the federal government has given states flexibility in designing an assessment system that makes sense.  Unfortunately, today’s report did not take advantage of this flexibility. 

“Simply put, continuing the status quo when it comes to testing will continue Indiana’s reliance on teaching to the test, rather than focusing on student learning and growth. 

“The Department of Education received over 7,000 survey responses from throughout Indiana regarding our assessment system.  Overwhelmingly, these comments said that Indiana needed to shorten this test, reduce the stress on our children and high stakes associated with ISTEP and eliminate the unnecessary IREAD-3 test.  This report ignores the feedback of thousands of Hoosiers. 

“Earlier this year, Indiana’s General Assembly said that the time had finally come for an end to the inefficient, expensive, pass-fail, high-stakes ISTEP system.  The recommendations adopted today will do nothing to shorten the time of the test and will not save Hoosiers any money nor reduce the high-stakes associated with ISTEP.  I will continue to work with Hoosier families and educators to ensure that their voices are heard in the Statehouse and that ISTEP is finally brought to an end.”

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