(MARION) CHRONICLE-TRIBUNE

The Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress Plus, better known as ISTEP+, has been the State’s barometer in gauging how our kids are doing in the classroom.

While original hopes were that a replacement test would be implemented for the 2017-18 school year, it looks like ISTEP is here to stay for “a few more years.”

Those four words are those of State Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chairman of the Indiana Senate Education Committee, to The Associated Press.

As most will agree, the ISTEP in recent years has been an utter failure between late data or, even worse, data that isn’t even reliable. And then there was the time when the ISTEP testing system simply didn’t cooperate and wouldn’t allow Hoosier students to take it.

The Indiana OnTrack Assessment System, according to the Indiana Department of Education, would eliminate the IREAD-3 assessment, which measures reading ability in third graders, something we think is important as we try to reach younger children facing learning difficulties rather than waiting until adolescence to deal with students who can’t read. But the DOE says OnTrack can better determine if a Hoosier student is on their way towards completing the state’s new College and Career Ready standards.

The proposal for the new system was shared with members of the Panel to Study Alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test earlier this month. The panel has met six times and has yet to make a decision about ISTEP replacement.

Right now, the education of hundreds of thousands of Hoosier youth is being affected because of this test and the State’s perceived feet-dragging to find its successor.

But on the other side of that coin, we don’t want a rushed substitute that will be just as bad, or somehow worse, than ISTEP.

What we Hoosiers need is educators and schools being held accountable while allowing for more individualize learning and less “teaching for the test.”

We need a common sense approach.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.