Last year, scores went up for both English/Language Arts and Math portions of the statewide assessment overall: 80.7 percent of students passed the ELA test, and 83.5 percent passed math. The number of students who passed both tests had also increased from the year prior, with 74.7 percent passing in 2014.
This year, scores decreased sharply on all portions of the test. Statewide, only 67.3 percent of students in grades three through eight passed the ELA section, and the pass rate for Math sat at 61 percent. Just 53.5 percent of students passed both sections.
Here is a map of results for the 2015 ISTEP+ exams, including data for private schools, traditional public schools and charter schools:
You can also click here to search our easily-sortable table.
Indiana’s Department of Education says 2015 scores are not comparable to previous years’ pass rates because of all the changes to the state’s standards and related tests. Instead, the IDOE says these new scores show for the first time the percentage of students meeting the new college and career ready benchmarks at each grade level.
In response to the numbers, state Superintendent Glenda Ritz reiterated the call for reforms to Indiana’s testing system. In a statement, she thanked students, teachers and administrators for their work during what she called a “challenging” school year of testing delays and technological issues, and said she thinks it’s time for Indiana to move away from the ISTEP+ once and for all.
“The one-size-fits-all high stakes approach of the ISTEP+ needs to end,” Ritz said in a statement. “Instead, Indiana should move towards a streamlined, individualized, student-centered assessment that provides students, families and educators with quick feedback about how a student is performing and how they have grown during a school year.”
The need to eliminate ISTEP+ is something other legislators have called for, too. At a legislative conference last month, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said the legislature will reattempt conversations about using an ‘off the shelf’ test – a dialogue spearheaded last session by Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville).
This map shows how many Indiana child care providers had achieved a Paths to Quality Level 3 or 4 rating, the bar state lawmakers have set for participation in pilot pre-K program for low-income 4-year-olds, on Jan. 1, 2014.
State lawmakers have approved roughly $10 million in funding for a small-scale pilot program for low-income 4-year-olds. Eligible students will be awarded vouchers to enroll at preschools that have earned top rankings from the Family and Social Services Administration, which will oversee the program.
StateImpact graphic / Google Fusion Tables / DLGF Data
This map shows how much of each Indiana school corporation’s local tax levy was lost to the state’s property tax caps in 2013. Note: Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance does not have property tax cap data for LaPorte County, accounting for the gap in the map there.
But as our brand new map shows, the 50 or 60 districts that have lost the largest shares of property tax dollars to the caps come from all over the state, featuring enrollments large and small.
What the map doesn’t show: The caps’ impact has grown since their debut. Property owners statewide got to keep more than $245 million last year that would’ve gone to school corporations if not for the caps — up $100 million from 2010.
TOP: Retired teacher Jill Lyday assembles a "campaign in a box" at Glenda Ritz's headquarters in September. BOTTOM: We mapped out everyone in Indiana who contributed enough to receive a "campaign in a box." Scroll down to check it out.
Scroll down to take a look at our map.
Glenda Ritz’s staffers called it the “campaign in a box” — an idea so simple, it doesn’t sound at first like a campaign strategy.
Everyone who contributed $25 to the Democratic state superintendent-elect’s bid to unseat GOP incumbent Tony Bennett received a “campaign in a box”: a yard sign, five bumper stickers and campaign postcards with Ritz’s main talking points.
Every contributor’s job was to distribute the materials and talk to others they knew about Ritz’s policies.
Electorally, Bennett’s share of the vote slipped significantly from 2008 in several key counties where other Republicans (Romney, Pence, Mourdock) won.
These losses are reflected in the map here: In counties shaded yellow, the percentage of the vote Bennett won in 2012 was lower than the percentage he won in 2008 — the deeper the yellow, the greater the loss. In counties shaded green, Bennett’s share of the vote increased in this election from 2008.
Below the map are a few takeaways.
Jessica Pupovac & Yan Lu / StateImpact
Yellow shading indicates counties where the percentage of the vote Bennett won in 2012 decreased from 2008 — Hamilton and Allen Counties, for instance. Green shading indicates counties where Bennett’s share of the vote increased — Lake County, for example.
Bennett has brought in $1.3 million in campaign contributions since his election four years ago — more than $812,000 in 2012 alone — with the thick of the political fundraising season still to come. By contrast, Democratic challenger Glenda Ritz has raised $112,000 to date, largely from the political arms of the state’s teachers unions.
A majority of Bennett’s campaign funds come from contributors in Indiana. But roughly 40 percent of his campaign cash has come from out-of-state givers, including from a company tapped to lead a school takeover and from the mayor of New York City.
71 percent of Indiana students passed both the math and English portions of this year’s ISTEP+ exam, the state’s benchmark standardized test for children in Grades 3-8, according to figures released Tuesday.
The result reflects a modest increase in the passing rate — about 1 percent over last year.
Overall ISTEP+ scores are higher than they’ve ever been, but stubborn socio-economic achievement gaps remain. While low-income and minority students’ scores have increased slightly faster than the population as a whole, they still lag behind.
“In general, I think [Tuesday's results] are very good news,” Jonathan Plucker, director of Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, told StateImpact. “But clearly we have a lot of work to do.” Continue Reading →
Indiana Department of Education documents show nearly 146 traditional public schools have closed in Indiana over the last four years. We’ve mapped the fate of as many of those buildings as we could. Some are now churches, some are now charter school, some sit vacant gathering dust waiting for a new purpose. Many of these school were victims of a recent round of state budget cuts. Some were the victims of declining enrollment. Under an new law passed during the last legislative session, any of these buildings that hit the marketplace could be targets for charter school operators. These groups and individuals are able to purchase or lease these properties for $1.
Take a look at our interactive map and click on the markers to see the fate of closed schools in your area. Continue Reading →
Much of the controversy around school vouchers has focused on the religious nature of many private schools taking part in the program. And it’s true. About 98 percent of all voucher schools are Christian schools. But we decided to look at vouchers from a different angle. How well are these schools performing on the state’s accountability scale. For readers thinking of sending their children to private schools, we bring you a handy guide to voucher school performance.
(Note: This map only includes schools which are currently receiving vouchers from the state of Indiana. For a complete list of voucher eligible schools, click here.)
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