Staff Report - The StatehouseFile.com
INDIANAPOLIS – Amid recent issues with ISTEP testing, a new bill wants to get rid of the exam altogether.
“ISTEP as a means of testing student performance and teacher accountability is a complete disaster,” Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute, said.
House Bill 1114, authored by Kersey, would replace the test with the Indiana Student Achievement Testing program (ISAT). This program would begin in the 2017-2018 school year and grade student performance in English/language arts, math, science and social studies.
“We have finally reached the tipping point where years of mistakes have finally accumulated to force even the staunchest advocates for testing to realize that ISTEP doesn’t cut it,” Kersey said.
Kersey proposes giving the Indiana Department of Education a couple of years to “remove the stench” and create a new test.
Kersey said problems with ISTEP are common across the state. He pointed to an incident in his own region that caused concern. In North Clay Middle School, all 250 sixth-graders were told that they had failed ISTEP.
“We should replace a test that has become synonymous with punishment and failure with a new system that places the onus on identifying the problems students are facing, then helping them resolve those problems,” said Kersey.
HB 1114 places the responsibilities of development and implementation of the ISAT on the DOE. Kersey said the new test will not only measure academic progress, but distinguish individual student needs.
Kersey said he hopes HB 1114 will bring about much needed change because “apart from the testing company that makes money off [ISTEP], I cannot think of a single person in schools across Indiana – students, teachers and administrators – who is happy with the way testing is handled in Indiana.”
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