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State Struggles To Find Tests Assessing Both College, Career Readiness

Ryan M. / Flickr

As the Department of Education works to rewrite the A-through-F rating standards for Indiana schools, it‘s grappling with how to measure not just academic performance but career readiness.

ISTEP scores are a big part of the old accountability formula and will be a major part of the new one. But as Indiana puts more emphasis on vocational education instead of steering all students toward college, the state is looking for test scores to reflect those skills:

The Indiana Chamber’s Derek Redelman says there needs to be a test that‘s both a widely-used measure of workplace readiness and is accepted as objective. So far, he says, there isn't one.

Sam Snideman with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education says the state’s testing requirements for high school students need to catch up with a renewed focus on alternatives to college.

"We don't really have a suite of assessments or options that really examine preparedness for options beyond two- and four-year institutions," Snideman says.

Some employers, especially in northwest Indiana, are using a job-aptitude test called WorkKeys. But the test isn't yet in widespread use in Indiana, and the skills the exam tests don‘t necessarily apply to all careers.