Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has unveiled her plan for a student assessment system to replace ISTEP. Ritz says her approach would reduce testing time and costs while increasing transparency and fairness.
Ritz says she is frustrated by the "lack of progress" by the ISTEP Replacement Panel, which was established by the Indiana General Assembly to study alternatives to ISTEP and make recommendations for a replacement assessment. The panel’s members were selected by Ritz, Governor Mike Pence, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88) and Senate Pro Tempore David Long (R-16).
"Families and educators have made it clear that they want to get rid of the punitive, pass/fail ISTEP test. That is why I am outlining a student-centered initiative to meet the unique needs and education levels of each individual student. Under this approach, families, educators, and students will finally have access to reliable data on how a student is performing as well as how they have grown during a school year."
Ritz says her proposal considers the six items of concern outlined by General Assembly, which include meeting the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. She says her approach will reduce testing time by approximately eight hours and could save taxpayers more than $12 million each year by reducing testing redundancies and eliminating tests that are not required by federal law.
The ISTEP Replacement Panel has until December 1 to deliver its recommendations to the General Assembly. In the meantime, Ritz has directed the Indiana Department of Education to submit a request for information from assessment vendors, to see what products may be available for Indiana to use.
Earlier this year, Pence signed House Enrolled Act 1395, which eliminates the ISTEP test, effective July 1, 2017.