Welcome to our live chat on ISTEP-Plus. We will begin at 6 p.m., but feel free to begin submitting comments and questions.
I'm Robert Blaszkiewicz, Deputy Editor of The Times and I'll be moderating tonight's discussion. We'll be joined by Merrillville Community School Corp. Superintendent Tony Lux and Times education writer Carmen McCollum. Please submit your questions and comments.
Robert, this is Tony Lux.
Thanks for joining us, Tony. We'll get started shortly. Readers can begin submitting their questions and comments now.
Welcome, Carmen. We'll get started now.
This is Doug Ross, jumping in from our Valparaiso office.
There will always be some form of State testing from now on. We are in an age of accountability and State lawmakers want an assessment for that purpose.
There is discussion, however, of revamping ISTEP...even this spring's edition based on the Governor's response to public outcry over the length of this year's ISTEP>
Frederick, as you can see from Dan Carden's story linked below, Gov. Pence announced today that he was issuing an executive order to shorten the test. However, that action will need to be undertaken by the state Department of Education.
There's always a lot of discussing about testing. Just as a reminder, Indiana could have saved millions of dollars if the state hadn't deep-sixed Common Core.
When I say revamp, it will at least be shortened to some extent.
The good question is what will need to be jettisoned to shorten the test.
Gov. Pence suggested dropping reading and social studies portion of the test. I'm interested in what Superintendent Lux thought about the governor's press conference today.
Cassy, today we have more than just ISTEP in high school. The high school exams actually affect graduation so the stakes are much higher.
Dr. Lux, what do you think about everything that happened today with the governor's executive order and will it do more harm than good? Where is IDOE in all of this?
IF HB1609 strips Glenda Ritz of her chairmanship, then along with the Governor's action, the Department of Ed may be bypassed by the new consultant who will work directly with the State Board. The State Supt will be relegated to having just one vote on major education assessment decisions.
Dropping Social Studies and Science is actually counter productive. There is nothing wrong with having a certain amount of standards that students are expected to learn at a particular grade level in certain subjects. The issue comes down to how much is supposed to be mastered and how much testing does it take to determine.
We have more and more educational decisions being made by non-educators.
For the principal who joined the discussion, how do teachers feel about their evaluation being tied to the state-mandated test?
Another issue is what is the State after. If it is simply to understand how well students across the State are mastering standards, a random cross section would be statistically valid. But the State is after placing blame for why disadvantaged students are not at grade level.
Superintendent Lux, a question was asked earlier about the state getting rid of the IMAST test for special education students. I'm interested in your thoughts on special education students also being given the ISTEP.
Dr. Lux, when the ISTEP practice session begins, what will we actually see?
I am concerned about talk that the national test expert is actually the same person who is convincing the Governor and State Board that using State assessments to compare students is a valid and worthwhile endeavor. There is a broad continuum of student resources and preparation. Just because they have the same test score one year, does not mean that they should be compared against each other for the next year's growth as if they have no differences.
IMAST and ISTAR were removed by Federal requirement that there could only be one alternative assessment for Spec Ed students. So a replacement test has been developed.
What happened to Glenda Ritz"s growth model, where students are compared with their own previous year performance?
Such a long ISTEP test as has been designed will have a disastrous effect on Spec Ed students who become overwhelmed and emotionally distraught.
I heard complaints at church yesterday about expecting kindergartners and first-graders to use a computer to take the test, when some of them don't have computers at home, or at least don't have access to one.
Glenda Ritz's model, developed by a State committee, has been tabled and put aside somewhere...I wish I knew more.
Glenda Ritz has been under attack by the GOP. Has that hampered her ability to lead on this and other issues?
Computerized testing is not yet designed for K and 1...however, the whole issue of manipulating computerized testing presents another variable of technology skill...Merrillville has 20% of its students without Internet at home...I'm sure this varies and is another element of what it means to be disadvantaged.