Indiana panel begins forming consensus around ISTEP exam

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Members of a state panel criticized by Indiana superintendents for being slow in rolling out a replacement for the ISTEP student test said they expect to forward a detailed proposal to lawmakers by the December deadline.

Proposals for overhauling ISTEP vary in their approach, but the consensus seems to be that panel members don't want the state to start from scratch in building a new exam, the Indianapolis Star reported.

There also appears to be consensus that the test be given once a year at the end of the school year, rather than the two times it's administered now.

Several panelists also want to end IREAD, a Grade 3 reading exam that can retain students if they fail.

A combined proposal by eight of the 23 panel members recommends the state "provide relief from unintended accountability consequences as necessary," which could mean reprieves from tests negatively affecting A-F school ratings and teacher pay.

None of the plans have suggested a specific test the state should use.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, who lost re-election, wanted to move toward a test that students in Grades 3-8 would take three times a year — in fall, winter and spring.

The panel will meet again on Tuesday. The group was created after lawmakers repealed ISTEP during the past legislative session.

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