A resolution approved by the Indiana State Board of Education is designed to reduce the length and cost of ISTEP+ examinations. During a meeting this week in Indianapolis, the SBOE also authorized Indianapolis Public Schools to once again operate Arlington High School. April 3, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 1, 2015) – The Indiana State Board of Education (SBOE) took action today during its regular business meeting in Indianapolis to shorten the length of future ISTEP+ assessments. Fourth District SBOE Representative Sarah O’Brien presented a resolution to the Board to reduce the length and cost of future ISTEP+ tests by including only the minimum number of items required by state and federal law and not expanding the test to grades and subjects not currently tested. The SBOE passed Ms. O’Brien’s resolution after tabling items 7 and 11.

The resolution sets parameters for contract negotiations between the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and testing vendors. Ms. O’Brien also cited concerns over IDOE recommendations to cut iRead-3 and voluntary K-2 assessments. She noted the data helps parents and teachers identify if their students are struggling early in their education. She also expressed strong concern over additional reading items IDOE added to this year’s ISTEP+ testing that exceeded state and federal requirements and were prohibited by the Indiana Education Roundtable.

“I believe that the current testing costs cover reading components that are not necessary and is an area where we can trim the fat,” said O’Brien.

The SBOE also approved multiple resolutions concerning Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). The Board approved a resolution authorizing IPS to operate Arlington High School, which had previously been operated by an outside turnaround vendor. IPS will operate Arlington, but the school will remain under the jurisdiction of the Board. The Board also extended a contract with Charter Schools USA (CSUSA) to operate Emma Donnan Middle School through June 30, 2020 and the Board passed a resolution supporting the establishment of a K-6 feeder school within the Emma Donnan building, which is consistent with turnaround efforts at the middle school.

“I think for Emma Donnan this is the best approach, which contains clear accountability and performance metrics,” said District 7 SBOE Representative Dan Elsener. “We have good leadership guiding this partnership and I look forward to seeing the progress.”

In other business, the SBOE passed a motion to conduct an independent validity study of the ISTEP+ assessment to ensure its reliability, and approved accountability measures for adult high schools and Title I funding for at-risk schools.

Most materials presented at the April 1, 2015 SBOE Regular Business Meeting can be found at http://in.gov/sboe/2616.htm. The next SBOE meeting will be held on May 7, 2015 in Indianapolis.

Source: The Indiana State Board of Education

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