ISTEP Successor Bill Moves Forward

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(Image Courtesy of Indiana University) (Image Courtesy of Indiana University)

A bill to replace the heavily-scrutinized ISTEP test is headed to the Indiana Senate. The House approved the legislation, which would create I-LEARN, or Indiana's Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network test, by a 67-31 vote.

The I-LEARN test is a result of recommendations from a state-convened panel of education leaders that met last year and approved the concept of the new examination. Bob Behning, who serves as chair of the House Committee on Education and is House Bill 1003's author, says "the purpose of this new assessment is to ease many of the frustrations and complaints that were present in ISTEP. The passage of this bill out of the House puts us one step closer to implementing an assessment that more accurately determines students' proficiency levels and progress toward Indiana college- and career-ready standards."

Last year's recommendation received some pushback, particularly from then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. She argued the adopted recommendations "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."

Behning contends the new testing system would eliminate scoring delays, software glitches and discrepancies that marred ISTEP's reputation. The bill calls for I-LEARN to launch in 2019 and take place during a "single testing window" during the month of May.

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