Chesterton Tribune



Indiana weighs ISTEP delay for schools with snow days

Back To Front Page

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - Indiana education officials are weighing the possibility of delaying ISTEP+ testing to give schools hit by several snow days more time to prepare students for the crucial tests.

State Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said the agency is aware of the predicament schools face. But he said no decision will be made on whether testing might be postponed until the winter weather ends to allow officials to “see what schools missed how many days.”

ISTEP+ testing, which is scheduled for March and April, is administered annually to third- through eighth-grade students. Its covers English, math, science and social studies.

“We are looking at what options are available,” Altman told the Kokomo Tribune. “There’s the possibility of moving one section and not the other.”

Northwestern Elementary School Principal Ron Owings said teachers at his Kokomo school have begun making plans for how they can cover material and make up for lost time. He said teachers and administrators are worried about the days of ISTEP preparation they’ve lost to Arctic cold, heavy snowfalls and icy roads.

“Each year the accountability gets more serious and the ramifications are pretty great,” Owings said. “We need every one of those days, and we are worried.”

The Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress is administered in two sessions, with the applied skills portion set to begin in about four weeks and the multiple-choice portion coming in late April.

Students’ third-grade ISTEP reading scores can determine if they have to repeat the grade. The test scores are factored into teacher and principal evaluations and also affect the school and corporation’s letter grade.

If the state postpones ISTEP testing, it would create another set of problems, Owings said. Teachers prepare material based on having a certain number of days between tests. Pushing the 2014 test back will impact 2015 testing, he said.

Kokomo Schools Corporation Superintendent Jeff Hauswald said the school-day cancelations have not changed the corporation’s focus on readying students for ISTEP.

“That continues to be our philosophy,” he said.



Posted 2/3/2014