Indiana looking for testing company to create ISTEP’s replacement

The Indiana Department of Education is officially in the market for a new state test.

The state announced last week that it will begin accepting proposals through Aug. 24 for the new “ILEARN” testing system as well as the state’s third-grade reading exam, IREAD. A final recommendation on a vendor is expected in October. ILEARN is an acronym for Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network. IREAD is short for Indiana Reading Evaluation And Determination.

“We are excited for the opportunity to refresh our approach to assessments here in the state of Indiana,” said Charity Flores, director of assessment for the education department. “ILEARN provides the flexibility to rethink the way we assess students.”

The testing system goes into effect in 2019. Lawmakers approved the framework for it this spring, a move that has been years in the making.

Here’s what is known so far based on a plan approved by the Indiana State Board of Education:

ILEARN would be “computer-adaptive,” and adjust difficulty based on students’ answers.

Students in grades 3-8 would test once at the end of each year in math and English. In fourth and sixth grades, they’d be tested in science. Those tests fulfill federal requirements, and per Indiana law, fifth-graders would take a social studies exam.

In high school, students would be expected to pass end-of-course assessments in algebra, ninth-grade biology, 10th-grade English and 12th-grade U.S. government.

If students took the algebra exam as eighth-graders, they’d be eligible to also take a state-funded college entrance exam, such as the SAT or ACT, in 11th grade.

Currently, Indiana contracts with Pearson to develop and score ISTEP, which will be given for the last time next year.

Chalkbeat is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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