Indiana Department of Education

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The 22-member panel tasked with developing a new standardized assessment test to replace the ISTEP will begin meeting soon.

Lawmakers mandated the ISTEP rewrite during the 2016 legislative session.

The panel has the ability to change the format of the test, the school accountability measures, and how often and when it can be administered.

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    Fifty-five schools – 2.6 percent of the schools in the state - earned an accountability grade of F last year, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

And many of those failing schools struggle to climb out of the failing category.

But an elementary school in Evansville jumped straight from F to A. 

Benjamin Chun / HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/BENCHUN/

The Fort Wayne Community School board has voted to not help the Indiana Department of Education pilot questions for next year’s ISTEP. Participation would have meant additional, unrequired testing for students.

A Department of Education spokesperson says piloting the test ensures specific questions accurately assess a student’s knowledge.

The Department of Education asked Fort Wayne Schools to have some of its students take these questions like they would the real ISTEP, except the scores wouldn’t count.

US Department of Education / https://www.flickr.com/photos/departmentofed/14120929212

It’s been one year since legislators created a new school funding formula.

The formula gives equal funding to all schools, but critics say that’s unfair because schools with a lot of low incomes kids or students learning English need more money.

StateImpact Indiana’s Claire McInerny visited Goshen, Indiana, and found the district is scrambling to save its English Learning program in light of the funding cuts.

NYC Department of Education / http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm

 

Getting high school students to graduate takes a lot of work, and sometimes a little creativity.

Indianapolis Public Schools and the Simon Youth Foundation devised a personalized solution for struggling juniors and seniors.

Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Eric Weddle has this profile of the Simon Youth Academy in its first year of operation  at Circle Center Mall.

State of Indiana / http://in.gov/

Groups which often disagree on education are uniting behind a proposed scholarship to coax more top students into teaching careers.

House Republicans have made the scholarship bill a priority this session.

It would offer students in the top 20-percent of their high school class as much as $30,000 for college, in exchange for a commitment to teach for five years afterward.

The scholarship proposal drew support from teachers' unions, education reform groups, State Board of Education members and state school superintendent Glenda Ritz.

Benjamin Chun / HTTPS://WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/BENCHUN/

The Indiana Department of Education says student ISTEP+ scores were not negatively impacted by the scoring process completed by test vendor CTB. 

The assurances come after anonymous allegations surfaced in an Indianapolis Star story earlier this month.

A handful of sources claiming to be CTB supervisors told the Star a computer malfunction had inadvertently changed grades on the annual statewide test, and that company leaders decided to leave those potentially incorrect scores in place. 

Judy Baxter / https://www.flickr.com/photos/judybaxter/

Despite assertions from conservative economists and lawmakers, the data is clear: Indiana is indeed experiencing a teacher shortage.

Since the issue came to legislators’ attention this summer, the Department of Education confirmed that the Hoosier State has seen more than a 30-percent drop in the number of people licensed as first-time teachers.

What’s still a bit blurry is what policymakers will do to remedy the problem.

Test Experts' Warning: Replacing ISTEP Isn't A Quick Fix

Sep 30, 2015
Alberto G. / https://www.flickr.com/photos/albertogp123/5843577306

National education leaders are cautioning Indiana to think through any attempt to replace ISTEP with a new test.

Legislators have been reviewing whether switching to an off-the-shelf test would reduce the time students have to spend on exams.

The Senate passed a bill this year to dump the ISTEP and find a shorter test, but the House called for further study.

Kyle Stokes / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

State education and legal officials are looking into a potential problem with the law that mandates schools receive annual A-through-F accountability grades.

The law that mandates the state gives schools A-F grades each year has been around since 1999, but the law has been tweaked several times over the last few years, as policy changes around standards and testing arose.

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