Indiana Department of Education released ISTEP+ scores for tests that
students took in spring. This is the final year students in grades 3-8 will
take the ISTEP+ before transitioning to ILEARN. The Chesterton Tribune
reached out to local schools for comments on the 2018 scores and the path to
All of the students
at Saint Patrick School passed the math portion of the ISTEP+ this year. St.
Pat’s Principal Richard Rupcich reported that only four of the students who
were tested failed to pass a section of the test.
“extremely proud” to learn the results of this year’s round of testing--in
which it appears that St. Pat’s had the second highest percentage of its
tested students pass both the English/Language Arts and Mathematics sections
across the state with 98% of tested students passing both. Another private
Indiana school, North Star Montessori, saw 100% of its students pass both.
“It’s a credit to
our students. They come to school ready to learn. They do their homework.
They take the test seriously,” Rupcich said. “That mindset comes from their
parents who work with them and partner with us in the education process.”
Rupcich noted that
another point of pride for St. Pat’s is the dedication of its teachers, many
of whom are long-time employees who maintain a stable curriculum that gets
results. He said the continuity creates “a continuum of education and a
blending of education that’s pretty spectacular.”
Meanwhile, CEO and
Head of Discovery Charter School Ernesto Martinez was also optimistic about
student scores. At Discovery, 83.6% of students passed English and 76.3%
passed math, with an even 72% passing both, a marked improvement from last
year when 65.9% of tested students passed both.
“I think we saw
good growth compared to last year,” said Martinez. He also reported that the
teachers and staff will examine areas of the test where students could
improve and consider adapting lessons to fill gaps in comprehension.
Martinez was “very
excited” by this year’s scores and credits the dedication of his staff and
teachers and their creative approaches to classroom teaching for improving
student performance on the test.
This being the last
year for ISTEP+ in grades 3-8, Rupcich and Martinez also shared what
preparations are being made for the transition to a new test--ILEARN--at
their respective schools.
ILEARN, which the
DOE announced last year was slated to replace the ISTEP+ for grades 3-8 in
the 2018-2019 school year, will add computer adaptive components to the test
at the elementary level.
the same Indiana Academic Standards as ISTEP+, but educators reframed
content priorities and item presentation to ensure each item solicits
evidence of proficiency based on the Indiana Academic Standards,” said the
Grade 10 students
will continue taking the ISTEP+ through the 2022 cohort, when new graduation
pathway requirements kick-in, as a measure of student preparedness,
according to the DOE.
As far as student
success goes, Rupcich said, “We don’t teach to the test, so we won’t prepare
at all. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.” Students at St. Pat’s will
continue learning the math concepts that students a grade above them
typically learn, beginning in kindergarten. The only instructional changes
may involve improving computer proficiency for third and fourth graders,
according to Rupcich.
ILEARN signals a
shift entirely away from testing with paper and pencil, and Rupcich said
he’s heard concerns about that shift affecting younger students. “They might
know the answer, but they don’t know how to posit that on a computer.”
Rupcich said a
handful of teachers and staff have attended or committed to professional
development seminars to learn more about the ILEARN, including a first grade
teacher, a robotics teacher, and IT personnel. The IT personnel are also
working to make sure the school is prepared for testing tech-wise.
that his staff have reviewed the materials that have been released so far
related to ILEARN and are working to familiarize themselves with the new
platform as well. Two people from Discovery Charter participated in
end-of-year committees about the new test. Five more are scheduled to attend
upcoming professional development seminars.
The DOE provided a
link to information on available ILEARN resources for educators at
www.doe.in.gov/assessment/ilearn-educators and a link to information for
parents and guardians at