VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – After months and months of waiting, and not to mention the debate over the very test itself, the long-awaited ISTEP results are here.
“Not just Indiana but other states are all experiencing declines in their test scores because of these higher standards,” said Dr. Karen Goeller, Deputy Superintendent with the VCSC.
The 2016 scores are the second year of a new statewide testing for grades three through eight, which is based on the state’s more rigorous college and career-ready standards. The baseline for the test was established in 2015. As for grade ten, this is the first year for the new assessment, meaning those results can’t be compared to previous years.
Vigo County students continue to perform at higher rates than peers in other urban districts. Local students had the highest overall performance score in English/Language Arts and the second highest in Mathematics. ISTEP Ranking PDF
“You don’t want to be satisfied until you have 100% of students that are mastering the standards and are capable of that,” said Goeller.
ISTEP results factor into A-F school and district accountability grades. They can also be weighed in teacher evaluations and raises. As well as whether students will receive a diploma.
“If you’re looking at a 60% in Language Arts across the state, we have a lot of work to do to bring that up to the 100% that it needs to be, so all those boys and girls can earn a diploma,” explained Goeller.
“Which is why we’re gravely concerned about all students across the state, including right here in Vigo County,” added John Newport, Curriculum Coordinator for VCSC.
The scores come as a new test could replace the high stakes ISTEP in 2018. If that’s the case – the question is, do this year’s findings even matter? They do as long as the exam is still linked to graduation.
“It’s really important that we make sure K-12 that we’re providing those learning opportunities as students go along,” said Goeller.
The ISTEP panel will make recommendations for changes. Suggestions will be heard at an upcoming meeting on November 29th.