October 13, 2016

Ritz And The Department Of Education Propose New Testing System

Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Department of Education released a proposal for the state’s new testing system. - stock photo

Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Department of Education released a proposal for the state’s new testing system.

stock photo

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the Department of Education issued a proposal for Indiana’s new testing system. The plan is just one design the ISTEP committee could consider sugesting to the 2017 General Assembly next legislative session.

The 2016 General Assembly passed a law getting rid of ISTEP last spring, and it also created the ISTEP committee to recommendation a new plan by Dec. 1. At this point, the panel doesn’t look likely to independently meet this goal.

Without a concrete plan forming in the committee, the DOE is suggesting this one and says it would reduce overall testing by eight hours and save the state around $12 million. Here are some details of their plan:

Some Tests Would Be Eliminated

  • The IREAD-3
  • The Social Studies tests at grades five and seven
  • ACCUPLACER at grades 11 and 12

What Would Be Added?

  • End of Course Assessments would come back at the high school level in grade nine English and Algebra and a Biology exam for ninth or 10th graders.

What Would The Bulk Of Testing In Third Through Eighth Grade Look Like?

  • Assessments would be computer adaptive – this is a type of test where every student gets a different set of test questions, depending on whether they are answering the questions correctly or not.
  • A test is administered three times a year in the fall, winter and spring. There are two approaches to how these three testing sessions can be used.
  • Approach 1: Each testing session would include a few questions that would add up to one overall score. Each session would therefore be important for a student’s score.
  • Approach 2: There are still three testing sessions throughout the year, but under this approach, the fall and winter testing sessions wouldn’t contribute to the overall score and instead be used as diagnostic tools. That means teachers would use the results of these tests to gauge how students are doing, and the DOE’s hope is that if this approach is used, schools will stop using other types of diagnostic tests like NWEA.

The DOE says this proposal took feedback from superintendents, principals and other educators that are part of key stakeholder groups. It may be considered by the ISTEP panel and the legislature as they decide the future of the state’s test.

  • Science portions of the test would only be administered in the spring exam at grades four and six.
  • The writing portion would still be open ended, but most other tests would eliminate open ended questions like short answer or essays.
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