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Senate President Pro Tem: Legislature Will Speed Up To Help ISTEP

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Senate President Pro Tem David Long says legislators are prepared to move quickly on any action needed to shorten the ISTEP exam.

Long says legislators would accelerate their normal procedures to trim a projected 12 hours of testing time before testing begins at the end of the month.

But he says lawmakers won‘t support suggestions to place the A-to-F school accountability grades on hold, which state school superintendent Glenda Ritz is advocating.

Still, Long says he doesn’t think Ritz will stand in the way of changes, based on meetings he and House Speaker Brian Bosma have had with her.

"It does require the superintendent to say 'I will embrace shortening the test.' Under the law, she has that authority to say yes or no. But it looks to me from everything I've seen that this is doable," Long says.

Governor Pence has suggested dropping ISTEP‘s reading and social studies sections of ISTEP, and has hired two consultants to offer further suggestions by Friday.

Testmaker CTB-McGraw-Hill has proposed several possible ways to shorten the test. Ritz‘s office warns most of them would require federal approval, but Long says Pence has gotten personal assurances of cooperation from U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

The Senate was already considering a bill to replace ISTEP with a shorter, cheaper and easier to grade exam before news broke of the anticipated length of this year‘s test. Long says that proposal continues to move through the process, but he doesn‘t want to cloud discussions of how to solve the immediate issue.

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