Friday, January 01, 2016

Jerking Indiana Students Around

This is from the Marion Community Schools website, published in the Marion Chronicle Tribune, signed by the county school superintendents. My freshman daughter Sophie still faces close to ten more standardized tests even though she's already passed all the tests my oldest step-daughters ever had to pass, caught in the cracks of this madness:

"Here is a look at events that have had a profound impact on our students in Marion, and students around the state:
  • Summer 2010: Indiana approves the Common Core Standards, and schools across the state began to develop curriculum and identify supporting instructional resources. 
  • 2013/early 2014: (after three years of planning by educators to transition to the new set of standards), Indiana pauses and then formally withdraws from Common Core Standards. 
  • April 2014: Indiana State Board of Education formally approves Indiana College and Career Ready Standards (leaving school districts only a few weeks to develop new curriculum and identify supporting resources prior to the start of the 2014-15 academic year). 
  • February 2015: Newly developed ISTEP+ test is approved. Educators soon learn it will take 20 hours for students to complete the test. After public outcry, state officials quickly move to cut test down to 12 hours. Different forms of the test are administered to different students, even within the same grade level in a single school district. 
  • Spring 2015: New College and Career Readiness test is administered to sophomores. This is separate from and in addition to the End-of-Course Assessments that have been a main component of school accountability at the high school level. At Marion, only a small percentage of students take the additional CCR test in Spring 2015, because information on this test and its impact on school accountability is unclear going into the testing period. 
  • Summer through October 2015: A committee works with Indiana of Department of Education to determine passing scores for the new test. During this process it is discovered that paper/pencil versions of the assessment were less difficult than the online versions. IDOE decides to award bonus points to all students who took online versions. Many questions arise as to the validity of this process. 
  • Mid-December/January 2015: Finalized ISTEP+ scores are expected to be released and subsequently unembargoed for media/public discussion. This is just a few weeks before the next round of ISTEP+ testing is set to begin (leaving very little time to adjust curriculum and supporting resources based on what the 2014-15 scores reveal). 
"The Bottom Line: Schools had little time to prepare for the changes in standards and assessments that were swiftly enacted last year, and we are still striving to understand what is expected this spring, when we will take the new ISTEP+ again!"

Stephen L. Edwards, interim superintendent, Madison-Grant United School Corporation
Tab McKenzie, superintendent, Mississinewa Community School Corporation
Brad Lindsay, superintendent, Marion Community Schools
Joel Martin, superintendent, Oak Hill United School Corporation

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