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Lawmakers examine mounting concerns over ISTEP

Posted at 5:13 PM, Sep 29, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS – If you think the ISTEP+ is too stressful for kids, you’re not alone. An Indiana principal is just one person among many to stand before a state committee to attest to the exam’s difficulties.

Indiana lawmakers at the Statehouse Tuesday said they know there are concerns about the ISTEP+: The length of it, the high stakes and what it means for schools are just a few.

MORE | February 2015: Parents opting children out of ISTEP

They took the day to delve into those issues, and talk to educators and experts who have their own takes on the test and what would work best for schools.

Many ideas were brought up about improving the ISTEP+.

MORE | Pence signs executive order to shorten ISTEP | Indiana reviewing contract for testing

The College Board suggested it collaborate with the state to create online practice tests for students.

A college professor from the University of North Carolina suggested Indiana rely less on the ISTEP+ to evaluate teachers.

MORE | Pence receives scathing letter from superintendent criticizing ISTEP

And Daleville Elementary School Principal Kim Beard says it all comes down to the stress.

“I can’t tell you the number of times students without disabilities or special needs have cried due to the fact they didn’t know all the answers or were nervous,” Beard said. “I’ve held them, encouraged them, even said, ‘Do your best.’ It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the answer. It doesn’t matter how much encouragement we give them: When they go to take the test, the pressure is real.”

MORE | State tries to decide how to give A-F grades in light of new ISTEP

Beard says it’s not just the pressure that’s the problem, but the classroom time that testing takes up.

Lawmakers say they will take accounts like Beard’s into consideration as they evaluate Indiana’s system of testing students.


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