Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

Outrage Over The ISTEP+: Why This Year’s Test Is Longer

The State Board of Education extended the testing windows for the 2015 ISTEP+

The State Board of Education extended the testing windows for the 2015 ISTEP+ test.

Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting was one of the longest in history because of public testimony on one issue: this year’s ISTEP+. After the Department of Education sent out testing times this weeks, educators and parents were outraged by the almost tripling of time students will sit to take a test.

Here’s the issue at hand, and it’s important to understand how our education system got here.

When Indiana stopped using Common Core standards last year and wrote its own, we were still required under No Child Left Behind to test our students on whatever standards we used. So the ISTEP+ had to change to reflect the change in standards. Educators have known since last summer that the test would be different, but the shock this week came when schools saw the amount of time the ISTEP+ would take.

And the difference is significant. Last year, a third grader spent a total of five hours and nine minutes doing ISTEP+ testing. This year, that amount jumps to 12 hours and 30 minutes. These increases are for every grade that takes the ISTEP+, not counting stress tests if a school has their students sit to complete those. 

Opponents of this increase in length testified as such. State Superintendent Glenda Ritz repeated that Indiana is in this situation because of NCLB, and that people should contact their federal Congressmen.

A reason for the increased testing lengths is that since the test questions are new, and this test will be used in the future, a lot of the questions have to be piloted. The length of this test will only happen this year, but many said that’s one year too many for a student.

After hearing from parents, teachers and community members about the negative effects on this many hours of testing, the board voted to extend the testing windows. It doesn’t eliminate hours of testing kids have to take, but it does give schools the flexibility to spread those testing sessions out over a few weeks.

Here are the new windows:

ISTEP+ Part 1 Paper/Pencil Administration: Feb. 25- March 13

ISTEP+ Part 1 Online Administration: March 2-20

IREAD-3 Online and Paper/Pencil Administration: March 12-18




  • lastcamp2

    The Pence/Daniels Board of Education marches relentlessly on.

  • JV

    Seriously, you moved the testing window back? Why not forward? We still have the obscene practice test hours to take in February… The kicker! 3rd grade turns right around to take the I-READ. SERIOUSLY!
    Pence/Daniels plan is to eventually stamp out public education dollars by giving MORE education dollars to charter, private, and homeschooled children. Oh, there scheme is not complete, eventually, these two men will turn around and stop giving dollars to any educational institute. Thus spending money toward education will not be the government’s responsibility.

  • KL

    We are raising a generation of students who hate school! Teachers no longer teach kids, they are teaching a test (Or multiple tests). Elementary students are going to take a test that is designed to “trick” kids. These tests do not test for basic knowledge, 8 & 9 year olds are expected to to apply concepts that are beyond their years. Developmentally appropriate practice no longer applies to education. Along with ISTEP and IREAD students also will be taking Acuity and NWEA tests. From now until the end of the school year, there is no learning taking place, just testing!

    What is the purpose of this? There is none other than to “prove” that public education is not worth the money that is spent on it. I say Shame On You Governor Pence. Elementary students should not be put under this much stress.

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