Fewer than half of Indiana students meet new exam standards

Fewer than half of Indiana students met expected achievement levels on the state’s new standardized test, leading the state’s top educator to renew her call for changes on how those results are used for rating schools and teachers.

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 1:05 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2019 4:10 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Fewer than half of Indiana students met expected achievement levels on the state’s new standardized test, leading the state’s top educator to renew her call for changes on how those results are used for rating schools and teachers.

Statewide results for the spring 2019 ILEARN exam released Wednesday show that 47.9% of students in grades 3-8 met or exceeded proficiency standards in language arts and 47.8% met or exceeded them in math. Those are both more than 10 percentage points lower than the passing rates for last year’s pass or fail ISTEP exam, when 64.6% passed language arts and 58.9% passed math.

Even before the ILEARN results were released to the public, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders called for lawmakers to approve a one-year delay in using those test scores so they don’t hurt teacher evaluations or the A-F ratings for schools.

State schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said the two exams aren’t comparable, as the new test covers some different material and uses tougher standards for determining whether students are making sufficient progress as they advance through grade.

More than half of Indiana’s schools would receive D or F ratings if the state Department of Education used the new test results to produce those ratings, she said. About 15% of schools received such ratings based on last year’s ISTEP exam.

McCormick said she doesn’t believe the state’s students are backsliding, pointing to national tests that show Indiana students exceeding the national average scores. For example, Indiana 4th and 8th graders slightly exceeded the national averages on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam and the SAT college entrance exam, where Indiana’s 2018 high school graduates’ mean score of 1086 was 18 points better than the national mean.

“We are seeing some promising trends of our student performance going up, this assessment is just much more rigorous,” she said.

The ILEARN results showed that 37.1% of students met or exceeded standards on both the English and math exams. White students met standards of both exams at a 43.3% rate — far ahead of the 14.8% of black students and 24.2% of Hispanic pupils. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price meal programs had a 22.9% proficiency rate on both tests, compared to the 50.9% for children whose families had better incomes.

Nearly 500,000 Indiana students took the ILEARN test this year after the Republican-dominated Legislature ordered it in 2017 as a replacement for the ISTEP exam, which faced years of complaints about the number of days it took students to take, technical problems administering it and long waits for the results.

ILEARN is computer adaptive, meaning questions change depending on whether a student answers a previous question correctly. State officials have said it will assess a student’s abilities better than the ISTEP, which gave all students the same questions.

McCormick, a Republican who previously worked as a teacher and school superintendent in Yorktown, disagrees with the state’s reliance on the results of a single student exam to determine school ratings. That’s a key difference in her taut relationship with Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders that contributed to her decision not to run for re-election next year.

McCormick said too many changes have occurred with standardized testing in recent years, including the development of a revised ISTEP after then-Gov. Mike Pence’s 2014 push to withdraw Indiana from the national Common Core standards and the later switch to the ILEARN exam.

“We are who we vote for. Policy fatigue is certainly setting in in the state of Indiana and I know we are not alone,” McCormick said. “At some point, Indiana needs to listen to practitioners as some of those policies are being developed and be smart about how we move forward.”

Keith Gambill, the head of the state’s largest teachers union, said he believes legislators are placing too much reliance on how a third-grader performs on a single test to rate the effectiveness of schools and teachers.

“It’s this fallacy of this one-stop shop, that this one thing will do everything and the test simply isn’t constructed to do that,” he said.

___

Follow Tom Davies on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TomDaviesIND

Terre Haute
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 54°
Robinson
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 52°
Rockville
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 45°
Casey
Broken Clouds
49° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 44°
Brazil
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 54°
Marshall
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 54°
Decreasing clouds to sunshine and cool
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Saturday Morning Forecast Update

Image

Truck hits house in Greene County

Image

Fifth person facing charges in a local murder investigation

Image

Police are looking for Putnamville inmate

Image

Death investigation in Knox County

Image

NORTH DAVIESS SECTIONAL

Image

NORTH KNOX SECTIONAL

Image

LINTON SECTIONAL

Image

WASHINGTON SECTIONAL

Image

VIN LIN SECTIONAL

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 368740

Reported Deaths: 9688
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1714375392
DuPage22100605
Lake20157508
Will17862426
Kane16211346
Winnebago9857179
St. Clair7814217
Madison7021154
McHenry6049120
Champaign594528
Unassigned4765270
Peoria443368
McLean404134
Rock Island388990
Sangamon374563
Kankakee331379
Macon283251
Kendall259528
Tazewell255953
LaSalle232063
DeKalb225142
Coles186438
Williamson183259
Boone179025
Adams176716
Clinton170926
Vermilion165310
Jackson151126
Whiteside132125
Randolph123815
Knox123116
Ogle11477
Effingham11394
Marion97617
Grundy9367
Franklin9308
Monroe90128
Stephenson9007
Jefferson89446
Bureau88117
Morgan86824
Henry8317
Christian80329
Macoupin77110
Union75125
McDonough72017
Lee6691
Fayette66622
Crawford6456
Shelby63812
Douglas6168
Livingston60810
Montgomery59515
Woodford58014
Logan5684
Saline5399
Warren4878
Bond4849
Iroquois47519
Fulton4731
Wayne47312
Jo Daviess4727
Jersey46721
Cass45911
Perry42116
Moultrie3965
Carroll3849
Johnson3400
Richland33016
Lawrence3248
Pike3234
Clay30213
Clark29811
Hancock2984
Mason2981
Washington2971
Greene28115
Cumberland2706
Jasper26010
White2594
De Witt2515
Mercer2446
Piatt2340
Pulaski2331
Wabash2185
Ford18711
Menard1731
Edgar1518
Marshall1483
Massac1472
Henderson1210
Alexander1171
Hamilton1142
Gallatin1062
Brown1050
Edwards1050
Scott1020
Putnam880
Schuyler881
Stark832
Calhoun670
Hardin530
Pope411
Out of IL90

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 157713

Reported Deaths: 4092
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25392789
Lake13805355
St. Joseph9277163
Elkhart8890135
Allen8278230
Hamilton6215113
Vanderburgh588261
Tippecanoe375915
Hendricks3302133
Monroe326638
Porter322049
Johnson3151129
Delaware297074
Clark296762
Vigo264840
Madison240595
LaPorte226658
Cass225522
Warrick195265
Kosciusko187826
Floyd180167
Howard164066
Bartholomew143358
Marshall140026
Dubois139626
Wayne132130
Henry128430
Grant127839
Boone124550
Hancock119944
Noble117434
Jackson114416
Dearborn98028
Morgan94840
Lawrence90837
Daviess89334
Gibson88612
Clinton86716
Shelby83531
LaGrange81015
Knox77410
Harrison77324
Putnam73716
Posey7236
DeKalb72011
Fayette69018
Steuben6338
Miami6305
Jasper6175
White59215
Montgomery59022
Greene55337
Scott52413
Decatur50739
Adams5027
Whitley4636
Clay4537
Ripley4538
Sullivan44414
Wells43511
Wabash4219
Starke4157
Orange40925
Huntington4015
Spencer3956
Washington3783
Franklin37625
Jennings36913
Fulton3653
Randolph3659
Jefferson3435
Pike33518
Carroll32913
Perry32614
Jay3116
Fountain3073
Tipton27823
Vermillion2531
Parke2374
Newton23011
Blackford2193
Rush2184
Owen2071
Martin2000
Crawford1591
Pulaski1562
Brown1433
Ohio1327
Benton1120
Union1110
Switzerland960
Warren841
Unassigned0234