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Lawmakers may replace ISTEP test

February 19, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (HSPA) — Thousands of third- through eighth-graders will be tested next school year to make sure they’ve mastered math and language arts lessons, but right now no one knows what will be on that test.

This year could be the last time students take the ISTEP exam, which is what the state uses now to gauge students’ English and math skills.
Originally, the plan was for the state to start using a new kind of test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College Careers, or PARCC exam, which matched planned changes in state standards called Common Core.

Schools have been spending more time teaching students critical reading and thinking skills, such as how to quickly identify an author’s main idea or other crucial facts and details when reading fiction and nonfiction essays and texts, in order to prepare students for Common Core and the new exam.

Now that state lawmakers have decided to move Indiana away from Common Core, the state needs find a new way to assess whether students are keeping up with what’s taught at each grade level.

Finding that assessment will be the job of the Indiana Department of Education and the Indiana State Board of Education, said State Reps. and education committee members Woody Burton, R-Whiteland, and Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis.

Right now no one is sure what kind of test will be used, and local school officials and lawmakers aren’t sure 12 months is enough time to create a comprehensive exam.

Typically it takes at least a year-and-a-half to create a test that can be used statewide, Behning said.

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