ISTEP+ is shorter than expected, but still long for Indiana kids

0

ISTEP-1

Indiana students may be seeing some major changes to their ISTEP+ tests this year, though they may not be filling in as many bubbles with heavy dark marks as initially planned.

The 2015 ISTEP+ test, to be administered to over four hundred thousand students in grades three through eight, was originally expected to undergo changes that would’ve lengthened the exam by as much as seven hours, more than doubling its size from previous years.

The lengthened test in part resulted from the Department of Education’s lack of a pilot test that would’ve sampled the validity of questions on a smaller subset of students before issuing it to the entire state.

“Since the Department of Education didn’t do the pilot test, as it said it would, they are making the whole spring ISTEP+ a pilot. That means they will determine which questions will apply to the student’s score after they grade the results,” stated Marc Lotter, director of external relations for the Indiana State Board of Education. “When the State Board asked the DOE about this in September, they said it would only add a few questions. As you can see, it did a lot more than that.”

On Feb. 9, the DOE was taken to task by Gov. Mike Pence, who issued an executive order to cut the length of the exam back down.

“Parents and teachers across Indiana are stunned and outraged at this news, and so am I,” Pence said during a press conference. “I am committed to seeing this test through and to bring common sense to shorten it for Hoosier families.”

While Pence may have shortened the testing, educators aren’t sure what that means yet as they remain in flux.

“Everyone in administration roles in the buildings were bemoaning the fact that new testing was going to be so much testing,” Westfield Washington Schools Supt. Dr. Mark Keen said. “There’s a point when assessment turns over and becomes detrimental. “

In order to find ways to reduce test times, officials are in contact with nationally-recognized experts on assessments which, according to Pence’s statements, may include making the social studies and reading portions of the exam more concise. However, in spite of the executive order, final say on the length of the test still rests with state superintendent Glenda Ritz and the DOE.

“I think most people are saying enough is enough,” Keen said. “The original plan was three times the amount of testing in each grade level.”

As new changes are announced, Keen said building principals will be in communication with parents to keep them updated.

ISTEP+ is a criteria reference assessment that looks at how students are performing based on grade level standards. The test will make its assessment based on the College and Career Readiness Standards.

Back in April 2014, the state adopted the new College and Career Readiness Standards that some argue are uncommonly high. After the state pulled out of Common Core, a new test was created. The government did not give enough time to create a new test, and the students are now paying that cost with much more of their time dedicated to taking the assessment.

Keen said the new test removes the multiple choice answers and becomes a two or three step process to figure out the question.

“We’ve been doing that for a number of years now,” he said, “teaching students how to take information from different sources, put it together and figure out an answer because it’s better for them anyway.”

In the future, Keen is backing SB566, which is cosponsored by State Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville). Keen said the bill allows districts to get rid of the ISTEP+ test and purchase other accredited assessments like NWEA, which WWS has used since 2002.

“It’s shorter, it’s online and we’ve never had any technical issues and its everything we get from ISTEP+ and more,” Keen said. “It gives districts the discretion to use tests like that. It reduces testing times and costs and provides better information and quicker results.”

Keen said typical turnaround time after testing is 24 hours, which allows teachers to begin implementing changes with students in their need areas.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 9.11.27 AM


Current Morning Briefing Logo

Stay CURRENT with our daily newsletter (M-F) and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox for free!

Select list(s) to subscribe to



By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Current Publishing, 30 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, IN, 46032, https://www.youarecurrent.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Share.

ISTEP+ is shorter than expected, but still long for Indiana kids

0

ISTEP-1

Indiana students may be seeing some major changes to their ISTEP+ tests this year, though they may not be filling in as many bubbles with heavy dark marks as initially planned.

The 2015 ISTEP+ test, to be administered to over four hundred thousand students in grades three through eight, was originally expected to undergo changes that would’ve lengthened the exam by as much as seven hours, more than doubling its size from previous years.

The lengthened test in part resulted from the Department of Education’s lack of a pilot test that would’ve sampled the validity of questions on a smaller subset of students before issuing it to the entire state.

“Since the Department of Education didn’t do the pilot test, as it said it would, they are making the whole spring ISTEP+ a pilot. That means they will determine which questions will apply to the student’s score after they grade the results,” stated Marc Lotter, director of external relations for the Indiana State Board of Education. “When the State Board asked the DOE about this in September, they said it would only add a few questions. As you can see, it did a lot more than that.”

On Feb. 9, the DOE was taken to task by Gov. Mike Pence, who issued an executive order to cut the length of the exam back down to around six hours.

“Parents and teachers across Indiana are stunned and outraged at this news, and so am I,” Pence said during a press conference. “I am committed to seeing this test through and to bring common sense to shorten it for Hoosier families.”

In order to find ways to reduce test times, officials are in contact with nationally-recognized experts on assessments which, according to Pence’s statements, may include making the social studies and reading portions of the exam more concise. However, in spite of the executive order, final say on the length of the test still rests with state superintendent Glenda Ritz and the DOE.

“There is so much confusion with ISTEP+ testing,” Noblesville Schools Supt. Dr. Beth Niedermeyer said. “It’s going to take some time to figure it out. We all have a lot of questions.”

As new changes are announced, Niedermeyer said building principals will be in communication with parents to keep them updated.

“We’ll be communicating through multiple venues,” she said.

Annetta Petty, director of curriculum for Noblesville Schools, said ISTEP+ testing will take place from March 2 through 11 with the second portion from April 27 through May 15.

“The major changes most students will see will be noticeable in part two (the multiple choice section) in late April to early May,” Petty said. “Those changes rest on two things: Indiana last year adopted new state standards so test items are to address those new state standards. But maybe even more significant at this point are new question formats.”

Petty said the question formats that students will be responding to on the ISTEP tests are different than those used in the past. She said the new test format will require additional thinking on behalf of students.

“The very first one, multiple correct response, is setup like multiple choice questions and students will select two or more correct responses,” said Petty. “Sometimes the question says ‘pick two.’ Sometimes the question will say ‘pick all that are correct.’ That doesn’t seem like a big deal but if you think about the test taking strategies that we’ve all be taught – eliminate the ones that aren’t true, you narrow it done to two and pick the most likely – that doesn’t apply anymore. There’s a worry that students will actually read the instructions and follow them and just out of habit pick the one best answer, but pick all when you don’t know how many all is.”

Petty said Noblesville Schools has participated in the acuity portion of the ISTEP+ test for a number of years although it is not required. She said it will be different this year in several ways with the types of questions being asked. Petty said the readiness tests are administered through the year and in the past the first portion’s test had half of its questions focused on standards from the year before. That amount dropped to one-third for the second portion and became grade level standards for the third.

“A big change in the acuity readiness 1 is that all the questions this year were on grade level standards,” Petty said. “If they started the test on Sept. 29 they were answering questions on standards that they may not even yet have been exposed to. That in and of itself has caused some consternation among students who have always done fairly well and now they are being tested on things they’ve never seen before.”

Petty added that the acuity test was a predictor on how well students will do on the ISTEP+ test.

“It does not make that claim anymore,” she said, “does not make that claim at all.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 9.11.27 AM


Current Morning Briefing Logo

Stay CURRENT with our daily newsletter (M-F) and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox for free!

Select list(s) to subscribe to



By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Current Publishing, 30 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, IN, 46032, https://www.youarecurrent.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Share.

ISTEP+ is shorter than expected, but still long for Indiana kids

0

ISTEP-1

By Zach Manges and Amanda Foust

Indiana students may be seeing some major changes to their ISTEP+ tests this year, though they may not be filling in as many bubbles with heavy dark marks as initially planned.

The 2015 ISTEP+ test, to be administered to over four hundred thousand students in grades three through eight, was originally expected to undergo changes that would’ve lengthened the exam by as much as seven hours, more than doubling its size from previous years.

The lengthened test in part resulted from the Department of Education’s lack of a pilot test that would’ve sampled the validity of questions on a smaller subset of students before issuing it to the entire state.

“Since the Department of Education didn’t do the pilot test, as it said it would, they are making the whole spring ISTEP+ a pilot.  That means they will determine which questions will apply to the student’s score after they grade the results,” stated Marc Lotter, director of external relations for the Indiana State Board of Education.  “When the State Board asked the DOE about this in September, they said it would only add a few questions.  As you can see, it did a lot more than that.”

On Feb. 9, the DOE was taken to task by Gov. Mike Pence, who issued an executive order to cut the length of the exam back down to around six hours.

“Parents and teachers across Indiana are stunned and outraged at this news, and so am I,” Pence said during a press conference.  “I am committed to seeing this test through and to bring common sense to shorten it for Hoosier families.”

In order to find ways to reduce test times, officials are in contact with nationally-recognized experts on assessments which, according to Pence’s statements, may include making the social studies and reading portions of the exam more concise.  However, in spite of the executive order, final say on the length of the test still rests with state superintendent Glenda Ritz and the DOE.

ISTEP+. Dr. Amy Dudley with the Carmel Clay School Board addressed ISTEP+ at a board meeting Feb. 9.

ISTEP+ is a criteria reference assessment that looks at how students are performing based on grade level standards. The test will make its assessment based on the College and Career Readiness Standards.

Back in April 2014, the state adopted the new College and Career Readiness Standards that some argue are uncommonly high. After the state pulled out of Common Core, a new test was created. The government did not give enough time to create a new test, and the students are now paying that cost with much more of their time dedicated to taking the assessment.

But Dudley said Carmel schools are in “really good shape.”

“In Carmel, we looked at our curriculum and revised our curriculum. Our students have had the opportunity to learn based on [College and Career Readiness] Standards,” she said.

Another change to the test is technology enhancement, making ISTEP+ no longer a multiple choice exam. The teachers of Carmel/Clay schools are looking into the new formats and preparing students for these changes.

“We need to make sure our students are prepared for this,” Dudley said.

The additional time the test takes could be more than double what students are accustomed to. There is also no law that provides parents a way to opt out of testing for their child.

“I think there is way to much pressure put on lower elementary students in preparation for ISTEP,” said Carmel parent Erin Daque. “I feel like at times it feels like a college prep class at first grade rather than creating an environment to inspire a love for learning.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 9.11.27 AM


Current Morning Briefing Logo

Stay CURRENT with our daily newsletter (M-F) and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox for free!

Select list(s) to subscribe to



By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Current Publishing, 30 S. Range Line Road, Carmel, IN, 46032, https://www.youarecurrent.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Share.