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

ISTEP sets benchmark for sophomores

By By Paul [email protected]

State officials are asking that parents not read too much into ISTEP+ results, which among other things show last year's Hauser High School sophomores struggling in math compared to other Indiana schools.

The Indiana Department of Education recently released the scores statewide for Grades 3-8 and 10 in an ongoing effort to establish baselines applying to more rigorous college- and career-ready standards.

Among 10th graders last school year, results show that 60.9 percent of Hauser students passed science compared to 58.8 percent for the state, and that 57.1 percent of Hauser students passed English/Language Arts compared to 59 percent for the state. But the differential was greater in the field of math, in which 21.8 percent of Hauser students passed compared to 34.6 percent for the state.

Shawn Price, superintendent of the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp., could not immediately be reached for comment. But Glenda Ritz, the state's superintendent of public instruction, suggested caution before interpretation.

She has long maintained that ISTEP+ is a flawed system.

"It is important to remember that our students, schools and teachers are more than just a test score," she said in a press release. "Indiana must ... take advantage of federal flexibility to move towards a streamlined, individualized, student-center 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."

Last year was the first for a new state assessment that is based on Indiana's more rigorous college and career ready standards, the press release states. As a result of the transition, a new baseline is being established that will take multiple years to complete. As such, any comparison of this year's scores to previous years' scores is like comparing apples to oranges, or a luxury car to a Model T.

Additionally, for the first time in more than 20 years, Indiana had a new state assessment vendor for the ISTEP+ assessment, impacting students and educators to some degree during implementation.

ISTEP+ results for all schools and school systems in the state can be found on the Indiana Department of Education website under ISTEP+ (2016).[[In-content Ad]]