KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — Earlier this week, the Indiana state senate passed House Bill 1395, which does away with the ISTEP beginning in 2017.
The Evansville Courier and Press reports the bill still needs to go to Governor Mike Pence’s desk where, if signed, it will eliminate the standardized test that has been at the center of much controversy over the last several years.
Overall, local school superintendents have reacted favorably to the bill, though each takes a different view of what needs to be done in its place. At Wawasee School Corporation, Syracuse, Superintendent Tom Edington and Director of Curriculum and Instruction Joy Goshert feel strongly that, if ISTEP is eliminated, another assessment needs to take its place.
“We are all for it,” Goshert said. “Dr. Edington and I definitely believe there is a need to have a different assessment in Indiana. We would prefer it be one already being used and one that would be able to track students’ individual growth.”
While Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation Superintendent Brett Boggs reacted favorably toward the legislation, he expressed concern that simply eliminating the test may not be enough.
“Educators have been saying for quite some time that ISTEP+ is not beneficial and only adds to numerous issues caused by standardized testing,” Boggs said. “If ISTEP+ is eliminated, what will take its place? Another standardized test that subjects our children to hour upon hour of standardized testing? Another standardized test for which we receive meaningless results months after the test has been taken? Another standardized test used to unfairly evaluate students, teachers and schools? These are the real issues that must be dealt with. In passing House Bill 1395, the legislature has simply put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.”
Warsaw Community Schools Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert was also enthusiastic about the bill but, like Boggs, believes legislators and schools need to proceed with caution.
“We’re still looking at the interpretation of what this bill is and what it will mean for the future of ISTEP,” Hoffert said. “We think there will still be some form of standardized testing that takes place in Indiana. My guess is, they are still going to have a lot of investigation and reshaping of that test here in the next couple of years to try to get it into a form that provides a little more localized control.”
Whitko Community School Corporation Superintendent Steve Clason is also in favor of changing the standardized testing procedure.
“Based on what the ISTEP has become over the past years, I think it makes perfect sense,” Clason said. “I think with the new federal regulations just passed, it’s time to put the assessment back in the hands of the local schools and have something that is useful, that kids aren’t just taking to be taking, but that we can use to help drive their instruction and help improve their achievement.”