School District Raises Questions About ILEARN

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Like all schools in Indiana, we were disheartened at the ILEARN results for school year 2018.

We would like to raise several questions concerning this test as it relates to college and career readiness for our students.

The annual Indiana Statewide Assessment (this year’s ILEARN) has been developed to evaluate college and career readiness at all levels tested.  We are very troubled by our lack of understanding of what indicators in the test evaluate a 3rd grader’s likelihood of being college or career ready? Developmentally we have difficulty in appreciating this correlation with children who are on the very cusp of learning about themselves, their interests, their dreams of what they may wish to become in adulthood. What are the indicators used at this level?

The ILEARN test, and ISTEP before it, evaluate student success based on Indiana Academic Standards as established by law. We teach to address these standards and file 3-Year Student Improvement Plans as required by law to address any deficiencies from the previous year’s evaluations.

However, there is folly in the process. By the time that we receive the results of the Indiana Statewide Assessment, children have moved on to another grade, have new teachers, and are now focused on a new set of grade standards. With this serious time lag in receiving test results, how are we to adequately address the need to integrate standards not yet achieved with newly established curriculum designed to support new academic standards?

In large part, this process serves no one. It is demoralizing to students and their parents, teachers, and the community. These ever-delayed evaluation results impact already-established teacher evaluations and compensation models, student improvement plans as filed with the state, and have financial impact on already-established, filed and adopted budgets. Who does this process serve?

We can only speak to results. In Wayne Township, Ben Davis High School graduated 868 students with a graduation rate of 92%, who also earned 2,206 college credits. And in the case of our Ben Davis University High School, we enjoyed a 100% graduate rate for its 9th consecutive year. Of these students, 94% earned an honors diploma, 93% earned an Associate’s Degree, and 96% went on to attend a 4-year college.

Yes, our ILEARN scores are disheartening, but we stand by our graduation results while continuing to question how evaluating college and career readiness is accomplished at age 8-9, and why an extremely flawed process is used for annual evaluations and accountability as established by the state.

The members of the MSD Wayne Township Board of Education include Brandon Bowman, Shirley Deckard, Phyllis Lewis, Trish Logan, Mike Morrow, Mike Nance, and Ben Wakefield.

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