Indiana State Board of Education

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The State Board of Education voted to rework proposed high school diploma changes at its meeting Wednesday.

After hours of public testimony last week criticizing many of the new diploma requirements continued at Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted to create a new committee to rework the new graduation requirements.

Much of the criticism focused on the lack of requirements for fine arts classes as well as struggles special education students might face under new graduation demands, among others.

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

 Indiana’s State Board of Education Wednesday approved cut scores for the 2015 ISTEP+ test at a special meeting (the score a student needs to pass the annual exam), whether they took the online or paper/pencil version. However, students who took the online assessment could get a little extra boost that could help them reach the passing mark.

The board had planned to vote on 2015 cut scores at its meeting earlier this month, but decided to wait until test experts finished comparing the online and paper/pencil versions of the test.

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Gov. Mike Pence says he’s working with legislators to ensure Indiana’s transition to new academic standards and a new standardized test shouldn’t affect teacher evaluations or performance pay. 

In a letter sent Tuesday to state Superintendent Glenda Ritz and members of the State Board of Education, Pence points out that states tend to see a decrease in student test scores when they transition to new  standards. 

He says given that Indiana is in this situation, the state's response should “reflect fairness” to students and teachers. 

SBOE Members Travel State To Explain ISTEP Holdup

Oct 20, 2015
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 Members of the State Board of Education made stops throughout the state Monday to further explain why they have not approved pass-fail scores for this year’s ISTEP test.

The board has hired testing experts to review the differences in the level of difficulty between the online and paper/pencil versions of the test. The board wants to ensure the pass-fail scores are equal for both versions of the exam.

Sarah O’Brien, the board vice-chair, said there is public frustration and distrust over the state’s K-to-12 testing system.

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

The latest salvo in the years-long fight between Governor Mike Pence and education superintendent Glenda Ritz was fired by the Ritz camp this week, when superintendent’s spokesman Dan Altman accused the State Board of Education of being in the governor’s pocket when it chose to delay the release of this year’s ISTEP scores.

The scores were set to be released Wednesday, but have now been delayed until at least October 28, as the state tries to figure out how to deal with scores that are significantly lower than in years past.

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

There’s been much gnashing of teeth recently about the grades assigned to Indiana schools.

Some say a delay in releasing ISTEP scores should release schools from their letter grades this year.

Others say a loophole in state law forbids the state from assigning them this year. The state attorney general says there’s no problem at all. 

Here to attempt to sort out the mess are StateImpact Indiana reporters Claire McInerny and Rachel Morello.

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Earlier this month, Arlington Community High School officially became the first school under state takeover to return to its home district, Indianapolis Public Schools.

It’s been three years since the State Board of Education took control of the school and hired a charter school company to run it.

The company, Tindley Accelerated Schools, has faced criticism for its hard discipline and high dropout rates -- but changed the school’s culture.

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

Six weeks after a reboot of the State Board of Education, a detente between board members and state school superintendent Glenda Ritz appears to be holding.

Five of the board‘s 10 appointed members started last month, under a law transferring two board appointments to legislative leaders, and allowing Governor Pence to decide whether to keep or jettison the rest.

The first two meetings with the new lineup have had none of the acrimony of the preceding two years.   Ritz says she expects the good feeling to continue.

Rachel Morello / StateImpact Indiana

When the State Board of Education met last week at Purdue, half of the members were new. 

That’s because legislation the General Assembly passed this year allowed the governor and legislative leaders to immediately reconfigure the board.

Rachel Morello / StateImpact Indiana

The State Board of Education met Wednesday for the first time since half the board’s members were replaced and spent the day focused on testing.

When it comes to student assessments, there are a few to choose from. There’s of course the end of year test, the ISTEP, which assesses what a student retained over the entire school year. There’s also formative testing: shorter tests periodically administered throughout the year so a teacher can gauge how their students are grasping specific concepts.

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