VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) -- "ILEARN is a major disappointment across Indiana for all school districts." Deputy superintendent of Vigo County School Corporation Dr. Karen Goeller had this to say in response to the results being released for ILEARN testing in the state of Indiana Wednesday morning.
Last spring was the first round for the test after Indiana did away with ISTEP testing. ILEARN indicated lower achievement levels across the state in both English and math when compared to past ISTEP scores. ILEARN contains major differences within its testing. It's more focused on more rigorous college and career readiness standards and is a computer-adaptive test. This means that students received different questions based on previous correct or incorrect answers.
At the state level, only three of the 15 tested areas on the ILEARN test were above 50% passing. The governor and state superintendent made statements in advance of the release of the results warning parents, students, and schools that the scores were going to be extremely low. Many are calling for these scores to not affect teacher evaluations or grades given to schools for the 2018-19 school year.
School officials say the concern lies not only with the low scores on this test, but also the difficulty of the test and the "proficiency" cut-off line being unrealistic. They say this is important to know when assessing Vigo County's school performance.
"It's not just a particular school or classroom with these low test scores," Goeller said, "It's a widespread issue across the state of Indiana."
"It's not a reflection of our teachers' ability or what's going on in the classrooms," John Newport, Curriculum Coordinator for Assessment for Vigo County School Corporation, said, "Excellent teaching is still taking place in our classrooms."
The school corporation looks at scores compared to the "Indiana Urban Schools Association". Those are schools that have similar enrollment and demographics to Vigo County. School leaders say two big successes in the ILEARN results are in social studies and science. Fourth and Sixth-grade science and fifth-grade social studies were the best performing areas for Vigo County. Vigo County finished first among its large urban district peer group in each of these areas.
Students finished above the state average in fourth-grade science and math as well as fifth-grade social studies and math. Dr. Goeller says it all comes back to great teachers and hard work. "The number one strength that families are saying in Vigo County School Corporation is quality teaching and we are really proud of that," she said, "We want to recognize that hard work from our students, our families, our teachers, principals--all across the school corporation."