April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Flat Rock-Hawcreek schools earn "B" grades on ISTEP

By By Paul [email protected]

ISTEP+ scores are up a little and down a little among 3rd-to-8th-grade students in the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp.

Regardless, the bottom line in 2016 still looks good; both district schools earned a "B" under the state's A-F Accountability system.

Superintendent Shawn Price could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to state statistics rounded to the nearest whole number, the district's overall pass rate on the English/Language Arts portion of the controversial exam rose from 62 percent in 2015 to 66 percent in 2016, a swing of 4 percentage points. Its pass rate on the Math portion fell from 62 percent to 61 percent (a 1-point swing), and its pass rate for both sections rose from 50 percent to 51 percent (a 1-point swing).

Among students in the 3rd-to-8th-grade demographic, only 5th- and 7th-graders were tested in Science and Social Studies. The pass rate for science rose from 68 percent to 73 percent (a 5-point swing). The pass rate for social studies was 59 percent in 2016, with no previous total available.

Numbers look similar at the state level. In 2015, 66 percent of students passed the English/Language Arts section, 59 percent passed the Math section and 52 percent passed both sections. In Science, the passing figure was 65 percent. In Social Studies, it was 64 percent.

This was the second year of a new state assessment for Grades 3-8 based on Indiana's more rigorous college and career ready standards, according to the Indiana Department of Education. As a result of the transition, the state established a new baseline for ISTEP+ in 2015. It said multiple years are required for educators and students to fully transition to more rigorous standards and assessments.

But Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz still dislikes the high-stakes test as a whole.

"I have spent the past four years working to get rid of inefficient and costly tests like ISTEP+," she said. "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 toward 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."[[In-content Ad]]