Lawmakers look at possibility of ISTEP rescore

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Tuesday morning, lawmakers will look at rescoring the latest ISTEP exam. The state released the ISTEP scores earlier this month, and they were the lowest in five years.

Tuesday, a House committee could vote on a bill that would hire an outside company to rescore the 2015 ISTEP exam. Teachers and State Superintendent Glenda Ritz say students did not do well on the tests because of new, more rigorous standards. Those standards were put in place after lawmakers pulled Indiana from Common Core standards in 2014. Many teachers said they didn’t have time to prepare their students for the new tests.

House Bill 1395 would hire an outside company to rescore the 2015 exams. Republican Representative Robert Behning said he wants parents to be confident that the 2015 test was legitimate. The Board of Education could then compare the rescores to the original scores, and decide which were more accurate.

There were glitches while students took the new 2015 exam, and then controversy over how it would be graded. That’s why the scores weren’t released to the public until January, months after the typical release date. The new bill would also put a July 1 deadline on reporting ISTEP scores to the Board of Education going forward.

Ritz opposes the bill, saying there is no evidence of any problems with how the exams were scored. She said the test scores were low, because it was the first test based on the new standards and the 2015 scores are not comparable to previous years.

Ritz is pushing to end ISTEP all together. She said the state should move towards an individualized and student-centered assessment process, that quickly shows parents and teachers how students are progressing.

The committee will hear this bill starting at 8:30 Tuesday morning.

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