By a near-unanimous vote, a panel comprised of educators and elected officials has approved a slate of recommendations for replacing the ISTEP test. The recommendations focus on shortening the time it will take to complete the examination, moving the test to the end of the year and even considering existing testing models to craft a new test.
The group has met eight times over the last six months. Senator Dennis Kruse (R-14), who chairs the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, says the panel came up with "meaningful recommendations that can guide the effort to replace the outdated ISTEP test." He says details will have to be worked out by stakeholders at the "implementation level" like incoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, the Indiana Department of Education and the State Board of Education. Kruse added "I believe we have laid a good foundation for the successful transition to a new, improved test that will better serve our students, teachers and schools."
During the final vote on Tuesday morning, Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz voted against the proposals and expressed her frustration that the report was not posted until late last night and that no time was granted for discussion on the final report. She said if legislators move forward with the recommendations during the 2017 session, the report "largely keeps Indiana’s expensive, inefficient and time consuming ISTEP testing program in place and represents a continuation of the status quo." She continued:
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.
You can view a draft copy of the report by clicking here.