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Student scores down slightly on 2016 ISTEP test

Posted at 12:56 PM, Nov 17, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- Student scores dropped slightly on Indiana's ISTEP standardized test that they took last spring.

The Indiana Department of Education said Thursday that about 52 percent of students passed both the English and math sections, down from 53.5 percent who passed both tests in 2015.

Other notable results:

  • 66.1 percent of students in grades 3-8 passed the English/Language Arts section
  • 58.9 percent passed the Science section
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  • 64.9 percent of 4th and 6th grade students passed the Science section
  • 64.2 percent of 5th and 7th grade students passed the Social Studies section
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  • 59 percent of students in grade 10 passed the English/Language Arts section
  • 58.8 percent passed the Science section
  • 34.6 percent passed the Math section
  • 32.2 percent passed both sections

2016 was the second year of a new state assessment for grades 3-8 based on Indiana's more rigorous college and career-ready standards after withdrawing from Common Core. And it's the second year of significant drops in the passing rate for students across the state.

Some local school leaders want state officials to again protect schools from lower A-F ratings because of poor student scores under the second year of new state standards.

State legislators last January approved a bill preventing schools from being assigned a lower A-F grade after student scores plunged on the 2015 ISTEP plunged with the revised standards.

Greenwood Community Schools Superintendent Kent DeKonick is one of many administrators asking the Department of Education once again not to penalize teachers and schools based on the results.

"I think those first three years were very disheartening for teachers and teachers felt down, teachers felt they weren't appreciated, and all of this had a major impact on our teachers. To be quite honest with you, the last couple of years I think teachers, as well as administrators, have learned not to get worked up about it and the reason why is because it is in such a state of flux," said DeKonick.

State schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz says Indiana doesn't have that flexibility under federal regulations this year.

"I have spent the past four years working to get rid of inefficient and costly tests like ISTEP+.  Indiana has finally taken the first steps to making that positive change for students, but we need to go further.  It is not enough to simply rebrand our current pass-fail, expensive and inefficient assessment system.  Indiana must instead take advantage of federal flexibility to move towards a streamlined, individualized, student-centered assessment that provides students, families, and educators with quick and meaningful feedback about how a student is performing and how they have grown during a school year.  Students, educators, and families deserve nothing less," said Ritz.

The ISTEP is set to be scrapped after next year, although one key state lawmaker has said he expects the roll out of a new standardized test to be delayed at least one year.

Click here to find copies of the 2016 ISTEP+ results(look under ISTEP+ 2016)