Lawmakers pass bill to repeal ISTEP test

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Next year could be the last year for Indiana students to take the ISTEP. A bill to repeal ISTEP is now headed to Governor Pence’s desk. Lawmakers passed House Bill 1395 Thursday, on the final day of the 2016 session.

The ISTEP test has been at the center of controversy, after last year’s scores were the lowest in five years.  Schools reported glitches and malfunctions, students said they were confused by the new format and teachers argued they didn’t have enough time to prepare their students for the new, tougher testing standards.

There has been a push to find a new test, since students took last year’s test. But just in the past week, Greenfield Central’s superintendent, Harold Olin, told 24-Hour News 8 some 10th graders had a number of technical difficulties when taking this year’s test. Olin said testing went smoothly for younger students.

If Pence signs this bill into law, a panel of 23 experts will decide on a new test by Dec. 1. Pence, State Superintendent Glenda Ritz and some lawmakers will pick people to be on that panel by May 1. Once the group picks a new test, lawmakers will vote on it during next year’s session.  Students would take the new test in 2018.

The bill also requires test scores to be released in a timely manner. Last year’s scores weren’t publicly released until January of this year. Under this bill, scores would have to be reported by July.

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