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Legislature Scraps ISTEP, Sends Bill To Governor

Sherry Nelson

The legislature voted to get ride of ISTEP, replacing the state’s assessment with a new one by next year.

A committee of legislators, educators and other stakeholders will design the new test.

The 23-person panel has until the end of this year to submit a report outlining a new plan for the assessment. The Department of Education will then spend 2017 creating the test and preparing schools for its implementation in spring 2018.

The bill creates a committee to determine the next steps and gives Republican leaders in the legislature appointments. Republican Terri Austin said she supported the bill before Thursday, but is disappointed no Democrats get to appoint committee members.

“How can you expect us to ever get past the education reform wars when we can’t even come to the table and sit, and listen and learn and shape the next decade of policy?” she asks.

The state superintendent and representatives of the Commission for Higher Education will serve on the committee, as well as legislative leaders. The governor and leaders of the House and Senate will appoint teachers, principals and school superintendents.

Recent changes at the federal level regarding testing allow for the panel to make significant changes to Indiana’s testing system. Some of these could change the high stakes of the test and allow the state to administer the test throughout the year.

The bill now goes to the governor for final passage.

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