Indiana superintendents demand action on ISTEP replacement

A group of school superintendents from southern Indiana are blasting a state panel for being slow in choosing a replacement for the ISTEP+ student test, saying more delays will put students at risk.

A letter released Wednesday by 24 of those superintendents, including three from Jackson County, said if the panel chaired by a Gov. Mike Pence appointee fails to act, students will “continue to be pawns of a legislative agenda that does not value the best practices of instruction and assessment.”

The pushback comes as top panel members have said Indiana likely will delay any changes until after spring 2018, missing the initial deadline for the ISTEP+ replacement to be in place. The original timeline called for the new test by the 2017-18 school year, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Rob Hooker, superintendent of Seymour Community School Corp., said the ISTEP+ test has become a drain on students, teachers and counselors in recent months.

“We still don’t have the results from last year and won’t have until after the election,” he said. “And then what are we supposed to do with them (the results)? They (the students) won’t have the same teachers.”

“It won’t be long before everyone has to start spending hours and hours getting ready for the next round of testing and getting very little out of it,” Hooker added.

Hooker said the letter, which also was signed by Greg Walker, superintendent of Brownstown Central Community School Corp., and Roger Bane, superintendent of Medora Community School Corp., is addressed to legislators.

“They make the laws,” Hooker said.

The superintendents are asking the legislators to change the law. Those legislators include Terry Goodin, superintendent of Crothersville Community School Corp., who serves House District 69.

Hooker said the delays have been caused by political fighting involving the Indiana Board of Education and legislators.

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