NewsEducation / July 8, 2020

Schools Can Offer IREAD-3 To Fourth Graders This Fall, McCormick Calls It 'Unnecessary'

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Schools Can Offer IREAD-3 To Fourth Graders This Fall, McCormick Calls It 'Unnecessary'

Schools Can Offer IREAD-3 To Fourth Graders This Fall, McCormick Calls It 'Unnecessary'

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Indiana education officials are moving forward with a plan to let schools administer the IREAD-3 test this fall. The State Board of Education approved a resolution at its July meeting Wednesday saying schools can use the test for fourth graders returning to school. 

Board members supporting the move say it can help schools gauge learning losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick says the test isn't designed for that and schools have other options.

"We have a lot of resources available that can give us the data we're looking for for that baseline that we already spend quite a bit of money on," she said.

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Under McCormick's leadership, the Indiana Department of Education has recommended getting rid of the test altogether and using existing state exams, like the ILEARN, to save schools time and money. 

According to McCormick, it costs the state about $300,000 a year to administer the IREAD-3.

McCormick took to Twitter after the vote to elaborate why she voted no on the resolution, saying schools are already dealing with increased demands for reopening, and added it will take months for schools to see or use data collected from the assessment. 

The state's largest teachers union also disagrees with the decision.

Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) President Keith Gambill says it's more important to let teachers do their jobs after so many months away from classrooms and students.

"We need every precious minute for direct instruction, we do not need to be wasting time and money on standardized testing," he said.

Gambill says ISTA sent a letter to the board opposing the change. No public comment was heard at the virtual meeting. 

The board approved the resolution 9 to 1.

Contact reporter Jeanie at jlindsa@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @jeanjeanielindz.

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