INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana officials are looking to delay any penalties to schools and teachers
from lower student scores on the state’s new standardized test even before
its first results are released to the public.
Eric Holcomb and top GOP legislative leaders said Monday they want lawmakers
to approve a one-year delay so that the English and math test scores don’t
hurt teacher evaluations or the A-F ratings given to schools.
Indiana students in grades 3-8 took the new ILEARN test in the spring after
the Republican-dominated Legislature ordered it in 2017 as a replacement for
the much-maligned ISTEP exams.
The ILEARN scores
were sent to school this month and will be released to the public Sept. 4,
according to the state Department of Education.
announced Monday that ILEARN scores are lower when compared with previous
ISTEP results. He said in a statement that since this is the test’s first
year, he wants the Legislature to “hold schools harmless so the test scores
do not have an adverse impact on teacher evaluations and schools’ letter
grades for the 2018-19 school year. This action will ease the transition to
The move to replace
the ISTEP exam came after it faced years of complaints about the number of
days students spent taking the test, computer troubles for students blamed
on the testing vendors hired by the state and monthslong waits for exam
results from the testing companies.
ILEARN is a
computer adaptive test, with questions that change depending on whether a
student answers a previous question correctly. State officials have said it
will assess a student’s abilities better than the ISTEP exam, which gave all
students the same questions.
announcement was followed about 15 minutes later by statements from
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma and GOP Senate leader Rodric Bray
supporting the one-year delay.
Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, who has clashed with fellow Republicans
on the use of standardized test results, released a statement about three
hours after the governor that confirmed the lower scores. She blamed the
drop on more rigorous standards to assess college and career readiness.
McCormick has sided
with critics of how Indiana uses standardized test scores as a factor in
determining teacher pay raises and for rating schools.
She said Monday she
wanted a modernized accountability system and that with the lower ILEARN
scores she supports “legislative action addressing negative impact on
educators, schools, districts and communities.”
The state’s largest
teachers union also endorsed the proposal for a one-year delay in use of the
ILEARN scores, saying the exams were being misused.
“We should not rely
on these scores to label our schools and communities with a letter grade or
negatively impact teachers’ evaluation and pay,” Indiana State Teachers
Association President Keith Gambill said. “ILEARN is yet another example of
Indiana’s continued use of standardized tests and constant policy turmoil
that harms students and discourages teachers to remain in the profession.”