ISTEP replacement test passes House

By Katie Stancombe
TheStatehouseFile.com

 INDIANAPOLIS – A bill that proposes a replacement for the standardized test, ISTEP, passed the Indiana House with a vote of 67-31.

House Bill 1003 would require students in grades 3 through 8 to complete the new statewide assessment called ILEARN, which for the next three years would be the same as ISTEP — but branded with a new name.

High school students would be required to take at least one ILEARN assessment in English/language arts and mathematics, but the social studies test previously administered to grades 5 and 7 would be eliminated.

Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, author of bill to replace ISTEP with ILEARN assessment
Photo by Shelby Mullis, TheStatehouseFile.com

The replacement test, ILEARN, stands for Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network. Author of the bill, Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, said the goal of the new assessment system is to make the test shorter, receive results more quickly and to include Hoosier educators in the grading process.

The new test would also be held at the end of the school year and would be kept within a single window of time, instead of multiple times during the school year.

ISTEP was originally slated to be replaced next school year, but lawmakers have said a new assessment will not be ready in time.

However, opponents of the bill argue that they are concerned about rushing the process of finding a new test.

Rep. Scott Pelath, R- Michigan City, said he think the issue of ISTEP needs to be completely pulled up from the roots.

“Cut testing. Cut it. Stop embarrassing our kids,” Pelath said. “Indiana has had enough. People have had enough. The kids have had enough.”

Pelath also said that he thinks the bill should wait for another day until lawmakers have a better assessment.

Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, agreed that the bill needed to take a pause.

“We cannot continue to keep bouncing back and forth,” Porter said.

The bill will now move to the Senate for consideration.

Katie Stancombe is a reporter for TheStatehouseFIle.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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