With some exceptions, Wawasee schools had better test scores on English and language arts than in math. All of the elementary grades had better than a 60 percent pass rate in English and language arts. Syracuse Elementary grades three and four exceeded a 70 percent pass rate.
The middle school grades did not fare as well in English and language arts, with only Milford grade seven and Wawasee Middle School grade six topping a 60 percent pass rate.
For the math portion, results ranged from 51.1 percent of North Webster third-graders passing to 74.2 percent of Milford fifth-graders passing. The middle school grades were in the 50 to 60 percent passing range.
Grades four and six also took the science and social studies portions of ISTEP+ with a percent passing range of 58.7 of North Webster fourth-graders to 76 percent of Syracuse Elementary fourth-graders.
It should be noted, however, local school administrators have repeatedly questioned the accuracy of the 2015 ISTEP+ and have also said there was little or no time to prepare for the change in state standards and the late release date of results allows for little time to use the data.
In early December, superintendents of school districts in Kosciusko County joined to submit a letter to the editor about ISTEP+. Testing results are inaccurate, they said, and the testing process was difficult with some students having to take pencil and paper tests because they could not complete testing online.
More recently, Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corp., spoke about ISTEP+. “Wawasee Community Schools uses NWEA testing to gauge student growth and guide teacher practices,” he said. “These assessments give our teachers immediate results on progress toward the best curriculum for our children.”
He went on to say, ”We don’t use results from ISTEP testing to impact instruction at Wawasee. Test sessions have been interrupted by online issues during each of the past three years.” Scoring problems caused initial results to reach Wawasee eight months after students finished testing, he added.
ISTEP+ has received sharp criticism, even at the state level. Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said she believes it is time to move away from ISTEP+ because it is costly, too lengthy and it is “high stakes” testing. She prefers a streamlined, individualized, student-centered assessment providing quick feedback about how a student is performing and how they have grown during a school year.