By KARA BROOKS
Office of Governor Mike Pence
Governor Mike Pence signed Executive Order 15-04 to shorten the length of the 2015 ISTEP test, which will be administered in March.
“Doubling the length of the 2015 ISTEP test is unacceptable and requires an immediate solution,” said Governor Pence. “As soon as I learned of this issue, I vowed to support efforts to shorten the test while preserving the accountability that Hoosier students and families deserve.”
The executive order, crafted in full consultation with legislative leaders, calls for a nationally recognized assessment expert to review the ISTEP test. It also directs the consultant to present the recommendations before the State Board of Education.
Without the action of Executive Order 15-04, Indiana schools are expected to experience a significant increase in testing time this March, largely because a pilot test, as recommended, was not administered by the Indiana Department of Education in either May or September of 2014. When asked in September if combining the required pilot test with the ISTEP test would add time and questions, the Department stated it would “add a few questions.” Below is a table depicting the length of time expected for the 2015 ISTEP test.
The Governor also reiterated his support for school accountability today.
“We grade students every day in Indiana. We should be willing to grade schools once every year,” said the Governor. “Our administration is committed to maintaining accountability within our schools and ensuring the best possible education for each and every Hoosier child.”
Senate President Pro Tem David Long has also made a statement regarding the ISTEP assessment tests.
“I fully support Gov. Pence’s actions today to seek a solution to the ISTEP+ testing problems that have come to light in recent days. Doubling the amount of time needed to administer the spring assessments is unacceptable for our kids and our schools. We must find a way to shorten the test in a manner that maintains our school accountability system and best serves Hoosier students.
“It is inconceivable that the Indiana Department of Education has allowed the situation to get to this point without making other stakeholders, including the members of the State Board of Education, aware of the concerns involved. If the Board had been included in these discussions, we might have been able to avoid this situation. However, it appears that the Board of Education has been shut out of the process. As a result, our A-F accountability system has been put at risk, and our children are facing hours of additional testing. Today’s emergency actions by the Governor are necessary and appropriate. This situation also underscores the importance of Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1609, both of which are designed to improve the effectiveness of the Board of Education for the sake of all Hoosier school children.”