Legislators on both sides of the the aisle are weighing the value of the ISTEP+ this session, and Monday state superintendent Glenda Ritz suggested a first step.
The state currently has a contract with testing vendor Pearson to administer the ISTEP+ for two more years. They can’t break this, but Ritz is proposing she co-chair a panel of educators and lawmakers to discuss a new version of the test once the contract expires.
The panel would be similar to one created last year that came up with the state’s new accountability system.
“I want to make sure that we have time to actually get our system correct, making sure we’re seeing growth of students over time,” Ritz said.
Many lawmakers previously suggested replacing ISTEP+ with NWEA, a test many Indiana schools use throughout the year to see how students are progressing. But this is no longer an option under the Every Student Succeeds Act (No Child Left Behind’s Replacement). States still have to administer a test that measures what a student learned over the course of the year. The law does allow for that test to be broken up throughout the year, it just has to be able to be calculated into one score to prove learning over time
Ritz says a re-write of Indiana’s assessment would have to find the balance to get to that score but not create the high stakes and stressful experience students currently face.
“How do you meld the formative assessment and the summative to be streamlined to have meaning,” she said.
Because of the Pearson contract and this being a short legislative session, the General Assembly is not likely to pass sweeping legislation that would overhaul the state assessment this session, but House Speaker Brian Bosma has said he would like the legislature to adjourn in March with a plan going forward to revamp the test.