After outrage from parents and educators that this year’s ISTEP+ assessment would take students a total of twelve hours, the General Assembly took the reigns to shorten the length of the test. Both the House and Senate approved the legislation Monday.
By passing Senate Bill 62, the legislature gives the Department of Education permission to eliminate the Social Studies portion of the ISTEP exam for fifth and seventh graders this year.
The General Assembly is trying to speed up the process for approving changes to this spring’s ISTEP+ test.
Late last week, the State Board of Education and Department of Education approved a handful of recommendations to shrink this year’s version of the test, which students can start taking in less than two weeks.
By law, those changes must get the okay from the General Assembly. In order to fast-track that process, two things happened in the House of Representatives Tuesday:
The Indiana Department of Education says it will proceed as planned to issue the ISTEP+ exam beginning Feb. 25, even after Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order Monday to re-evaluate the test’s length.
Even though the test could change -- after the testing consultant hired through Pence’s executive order issues recommendations on how to shorten it -- the DOE says they are preparing school districts as if the test will not change.
Deputy state superintendent Danielle Shockey says Pence’s actions only add to the confusion in preparing for this year’s ISTEP.
The widespread disruptions to Indiana’s online standardized tests last April, on average, did not hurt students’ final ISTEP+ scores. That’s the conclusion a New Hampshire-based testing expert reported to lawmakers Monday.
State education officials hired the Center for Assessment’s Richard Hill six weeks ago to comb through the data of more than 495,000 ISTEP+ exams.
“If the interruptions had had a marked impact on student achievement, we would not have seen scores going up this year from last year,” Hill said.
State legislative leaders say they’re looking for answers behind recent problems with ISTEP testing that disrupted the exams of thousands of Hoosier students, and they’re forming a study committee to investigate.
Listen to Brandon Smith's story about a summer study committee being assigned to investigate recent problems with the ISTEP+ exam.