Indiana

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Schools In Limbo With ISTEP+ After Pence’s Executive Order

Brownsburg Community School received their testing material for this years ISTEP+, but can't administer practice tests without knowing how the final version of the test will change.

Brownsburg Community School received their testing materials for this year’s ISTEP+, but can’t administer practice tests without knowing how the final version of the test will change. (Photo Credit: Scott Smith/Brownsburg Community Schools)

Governor Mike Pence signed an executive order Monday requiring the Department of Education to work with a testing consultant to shorten this year’s ISTEP+ test, putting school districts across the state into a state of limbo.

The consultant, Edward Roeber, will receive up to $22,000 to analyze and make recommendations regarding this year’s ISTEP+ test by Feb. 20, as well as advise on the creation of the 2016 test.

With only ten school days left until the testing window opens, there isn’t much time for the State Board of Education and Department of Education to finalize changes and give schools enough time to familiarize students with the test.

Brownsburg Community Schools received their testing materials from CTB-McGraw Hill early, but Director of Assessments Scott Smith says the district isn’t going to do anything with them until they get further guidance from the IDOE.

Included in the materials are practice tests, which schools are allowed to use in an informal way in the weeks leading up to the test, to familiarize students with content and style. Smith says he will not give those out to students in Brownsburg, to avoid exposing them to material that might be removed from the final test in the next few weeks.

“The Governor specifically mentioned the social studies test as a portion that may be recommended for removal by the outside consultant,” Smith said. “If that’s going to happen we certainly don’t want to spend any time on the social studies practice test.  It’s not really clear what other content might be recommended for removal, and whether or not there are specific practice sections related to those specific live sections.”

The deadline for Roeber’s recommendations is five days before the testing window opens Feb. 25, so a finalized version of the test likely won’t be available well before most schools administer the test.

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