10/31/13 A recommendation by a panel of educators working on improving the A-F grading systems for Indiana schools, calls for adding ISTEP + (Indiana Testing for Educational Progress) testing for grades one, two, nine and eleven. Currently, ISTEP + testing is given to students in grades 3-8 and ECA (End of Course Assessments) are administered to students in grade 10. The tests would cover math, English and reading.
The recommendations will be presented to the State Board of Education on November 8. If adopted, the new testing schedule would be in effective in the 2014-2015 school year.
Testing of the new model could likely be in the 2013-2014 school year while at the same time running the current model.
The proposed changes are intended to track students individually for growth as opposed to the current system that assigns school grades on percentages of student passing or failing the ISTEP+ tests. Other factors will still come into play as the grades are tabulated such as graduation rates, college and career readiness rates, and reading test results.
Chairing the panel was Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz. Ritz has said that the move could reduce the number of local tests already given by schools as they gauge the skills of ‘students.
The advisory panel, consisting of mostly educators, was appointed after concerns were voiced over the grading formula used last year while Tony Bennett was in the superintendent’s position.
Indiana State legislators ordered the state board to devise a new A-F system. Numerous complaints from parents, teachers and administrators lead to the order citing the formula being used was unfair and difficult, if not impossible, to understand,
Co-chairing the panel was Southwest Allen County Superintendent, Steve Yager. Yager said, “It’s easily measured, easily understood and easy to enact the changes that we need for instruction or curriculum.” Members of the panel looking into the changes were appointed by Republican
Governor Mike Pence, the Republican House and Senate leaders, and Ritz.
Plymouth Schools Superintendent Daniel Tyree is in favor of the recommended changes. Tyree said, “Real growth can only be measured by testing every year. Either a student improves or doesn’t improve.”
Carol Anders Correspondent