Indiana Department of Education

Department of Ed: ISTEP Exam Is On, Despite Pence

Feb 11, 2015

The Indiana Department of Education says it will proceed as planned to issue the ISTEP test beginning Feb. 25, even after Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order Monday to re-evaluate the test’s length. 

Pence said the length of the upcoming high-stakes test, which at 12 hours is twice as long as last year's exam for some grades, is unacceptable.

Claire McInerny / StateImpact Indiana

Governor Pence is trying to use his authority to shorten this year’s ISTEP, after parents and educators shared concerns over the amount of time students will sit to take a test, which was set to more than double in some cases.

The Department of Education released timetables for this year’s ISTEP last week, and parents and educators immediately expressed outrage at the amount of testing.

Last year’s ISTEP required a third grade student to sit for five hours to complete the test, but this year, that increased to more than 12 hours.

Indiana Department of Education /

A growing coalition is hoping that a hash-tag will save the integrity of the Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Indiana House could vote today, to remove Glenda Ritz as head of the State Board of Education, but a twitter movement launched by a group including angry parents and teachers is trying to keep that change from happening.

#IStandWithRitz was one of the top ranking hash-tags on Twitter yesterday, thanks in part to Jennifer Dewitt from Noblesville who has three special needs children.

Josh Davis /

The state House of Representatives is considering a bill that addresses the role the State Board of Education and Department of Education play in making education decisions. 

House Bill 1486 would shift education responsibilities from the Department of Education, headed by state superintendent Ritz, to the State Board of Education, which is made up of appointees from Governor Pence and former governor Mitch Daniels.

Report Ranks Indiana 43rd For Early Education

Jan 20, 2015
Elle Moxley /

Indiana ranked 43rd on early education in Education Week’s national “Quality Counts” report.

The state got a ‘D’, worse than the nation’s ‘D+’ average.

Holly Yettick, Education Week’s Research Center director, says low enrollment numbers in programs like kindergarten and Head Start contributed to its ranking.

She says only 30 percent of eligible students attend the federally funded Head Start program and less than three-fourths of eligible kindergartners attend school.

ISTEP Stress Test Delayed Due To School Feedback

Jan 20, 2015
Kyle Stokes /

The next stress test for computer systems used in the ISTEP exam across Indiana was supposed to take place Tuesday.

Now, it won’t happen until sometime in February.

The stress test by ISTEP maker CTB/McGraw-Hill was delayed due to feedback the company received from schools, according to the Department of Education. The maker says it wants to make sure thousands of students can simultaneously take the online portion of the exam without incident.

Indiana Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman says the first stress test took place last week.

Indiana House GOP

We’re almost two years away from the 2016 presidential election, but speculation, rumors and announcements are already in full swing. Many potential candidates are focusing on issues that took a backseat during the financial crisis, including education.

Rachel Morello /

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz outlined the Department of Education’s proposed budget Thursday to the state budget committee.

The main concern of committee members was the cost of testing.

Ritz’s proposal included a request for $65 million dollars for testing and remediation.

State education leaders are still in the process of creating a new assessment for the 2015-16 school year. That test will align with state-specific academic standards schools began implementing this year.

Jason Kuffer /

The State Board of Education will take more time before deciding whether more schools might be able to take advantage of using the web to help avoid snow make-up days.

Almost Half Of Clinton County Schools Failing, Says IDOE

Nov 7, 2014
Warsaw Community Schools /

Numbers released this week by the Indiana Department of Education show disappointing results for Clinton County schools.

For every school with an “A” grade, there was one school with a “D” or an “F”. The four "F"-graded schools all belong to the Community Schools of Frankfort. The corporation received a “D” grade overall.

Frankfort Senior High School is the only school in the corporation that received an “A”.

Assistant superintendent Joel McKinney attributes the poor grades to the student body as a whole struggling with testing.