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ISTEP To Be Studied, Rather Than Replaced In Budget

Melanie Holtsman

The ISTEP exam will survive another year, after a legislative flirtation with replacing it.

The Senate twice passed bills to get rid of ISTEP in favor of a shorter and cheaper national test, amid estimates, since scaled back, that a revised ISTEP would cost $67 million a year. The legislation appeared to gain momentum in February with the announcement that this year‘s test would take 12 hours.

Legislators rushed through a bill shortening this year‘s test. But the House declined to go along with an immediate switch to an off-the-shelf test like the Iowa Basic Skills Test, calling instead for a study. Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), who co-authored the bill with Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen), says the Senate will accept that plan.

“I think it would be a legislative group and I ask that they put some fiscal people on that study, not just the education committee people, because I think part of the question is, ‘How much does it cost?’” Kenley says.

Kenley‘s proposed budget includes $12 million a year for schools who want to administer a national test in addition to ISTEP. He calls the provision a middle ground.

Budget negotiators have a week left to finalize a spending plan.

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