Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

ISTEP Format Questions Persist ; Examples Unavailable

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

ISTEP Format Questions Persist ; Examples Unavailable

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana teachers are heading back to classrooms starting this week and face the task of preparing students for a standard -ized test that's been retooled three times since 2009.

Some teachers and district administrators worry the exam that's still being revamped by a state contractor could negatively impact them and their students, since performance on the high-stakes test helps determine whether teachers get a raise and how schools are graded on an A-to-F rating system.

The changes come after nearly two years of ideological and political battles over education policy between Democratic state schools chief Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence's Center for Education and Career Innovation. It could be September or later before students see example questions and the new format.

Thomas Hakim, an eighth-grade teacher and the mathematics department head at Washington Township Schools in Indianapolis, said teachers are frustrated about the uncertainty that comes with the revised test.

"What every teacher and every superintendent wants to know is how we are going to measure our students successfully. We start school in a week, and we still don't know," he told The Indianapolis Star.

The new test will assess students' mastery of Indiana's newly adopted math and English benchmarks - which changed after the state dropped the national Common Core curriculum - and also will be more interactive, possibly requiring students to highlight passages of text on a computer to show how they reach certain conclusions.

The exam will be administered early next year to more than 400,000 students in third to eighth grades across Indiana. The test is being revised by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the company that created and implemented the ISTEP during the past four years under a $95 million contract that was extended June 30. …

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