INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana House and Senate each passed bills Monday to hold schools harmless for the 2019 and 2020 ILEARN exam results. The bills would prevent the test results from negatively affecting schools' accountability grades and teacher evaluations.

The move for the "hold harmless" policy followed the release of the inaugural ILEARN exam results, which saw a more than 13% decrease from the previous year's ISTEP+ exam. Governor Eric Holcomb, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick joined other state leaders in calling for a bill to hold schools harmless.

Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) said the quick passage of the Senate Bill 2, authored by State Senator Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond), makes good on the promise Republicans made in the fall to address the issue.

“My colleagues in the Senate and I know our teachers and schools are working hard to give Hoosier children a great education, and we believe passing a hold harmless measure is the right thing to do as we adjust to the new rigors of ILEARN," said Bray. "This two-year measure will give the state time to adjust our accountability standards as we transition to the new test in order to provide more stability as we move forward."

If signed into law, SB2 would prevent each school's 2019 accountability grade from being lower than its 2018 grade. Additionally, each school's 2020 grade would not be lower than its 2019 grade. Raatz' office says schools that earn higher accountability grades would still be able to receive them.

Additionally, the bill would prevent 2019 and 2020 ILEARN scores and state accountability grades from being used in teacher evaluations, unless the evaluation would be improved by including them. 

The bills now move to the opposite chambers for consideration.

The House also unanimously passed a similar bill to permanently decouple ILEARN results from teacher evaluations; it will now move to the Senate.