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Meet The People Who Decide The Future Of School Testing

Benjamin Chun

The panel that will decide the future of Indiana standardized testing is now complete, officials announced Friday.


Gov. Mike Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) separately announced appointments to the panel that will recommend a replacement for Indiana’s current standardized test, the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus or ISTEP+.

The announcements follow appointments earlier this week from other state officials.

“Today we take an important step towards moving away from ISTEP+ to create a shorter, more reliable test,” said Pence, in a statement. “This dynamic slate of education experts and stakeholders… will take the lead in developing the next iteration of assessment and accountability for our schools.

Under recent state law, the current ISTEP+ must end after the 2016-2017 school year. The 23-member ISTEP+ Review Panel will study alternatives to ISTEP+ and make recommendations for a shorter, simpler-to-administer test by December.

NIcole Fama, principal of IPS 93 in Indianapolis, will serve as chair of the panel.


The move to rewrite ISTEP+ comes after challenges in administering, scoring and releasing results of the last test. That last test was new in 2014-15, after the state ditched the Common Core the year before.

“If there was agreement on one thing about testing this session, across the board, it was that the ISTEP brand is broken,” Bosma said. “A test that has become both cumbersome and can’t be turned around within 8 months, it’s just outdated, it just isn’t appropriate.”

The ISTEP+ Review Panel will hammer out details of the replacement — what a new test will look like, its length and how state officials can use it to rate schools and teachers.

“Rather than trying to pick a rabbit out of a hat during the legislative session with policymakers, who generally are not testing experts, we thought best to assemble a panel of experts from the education field,” said Bosma.

Indiana students will take the current ISTEP+ this spring and next spring. The new test, decided by the committee, will go into effect spring 2018.

Here’s a full look at the appointments:

From Gov. Mike Pence:

  • Nicole Fama, Principal of Indianapolis Public School #93
  • Dr. Jim Roberts, Superintendent of Batesville Community School Corporation
  • Charles Weisenbach, principal of Roncalli High School
  • Brent Freeman, Special Education Officer for Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Dr. Micelle McKeown, General Counsel and Director of Policy for the Indiana Charter School Board

From House Speaker Brian Bosma:

  • Melissa Scherle, Indianapolis Public Schools second grade teacher
  • Edward Rangel, assistant principal at Tindley Genesis
  • Dr. Scot Croner, Superintendent of Blackford County Schools
  • Dr. Lynne Stallings, parent and professor at Ball State University

From Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz:

  • Ayana Wilson-Coles, a third grade teacher at Eagle Creek Elementary School
  • Julie Kemp, Principal at Chrisney Elementary School
  • Wendy Robinson, Superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Callie Marksbary, Indiana State Teachers Association

From Senate President Pro Tem David Long:

  • Jean Russell, 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year
  • Steve Baker, Bluffton High School Principal
  • Dr. Kenneth Folks, East Allen County Schools Superintendent
  • Marilyn Moran-Townsend, Chairman and CEO, CVC Communications (former chair of Indiana Higher Education Commission)

The panel also includes the Commissioner of Workforce Development, the Commissioner of Higher Education, the Chairperson of the Senate Education & Career Development Committee, the Chairperson of the House Education Committee and a member of the State Board of Education.

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