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ISTEP replacement could come in 2018

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House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said during a press conference on Thursday he doesn’t mind the new name of the proposed exam as long as it is affordable, fast and effective for students.  - ANDI TENBARGE, THESTATEHOUSEFILE.COM
  • Andi TenBarge, TheStatehouseFile.com
  • House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said during a press conference on Thursday he doesn’t mind the new name of the proposed exam as long as it is affordable, fast and effective for students.

ISTEP’s replacement could be called ILEARN.

A bill, authored by Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, would replace the ISTEP test program beginning with the 2018-2019 school year with a new statewide assessment program. ILEARN stands for Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network.

“It doesn’t matter what we call the test. We could call it whatever we wanted,” House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said. “What is important is that we have an affordable, fast and effective tool for students, parents, teachers and schools to determine progress for Hoosier students.”

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

Bosma said he doesn’t have enough information to form an opinion about if ILEARN will be meaningfully different from ISTEP, but said there will be some differences.

“We don’t want third graders taking 12 hours of testing. We do want Hoosier teachers to be involved in the test and grading it. We do want it to be at the end of the year. These are all effective things,” Bosma said. “To that extent I think there will be differences with ISTEP no matter what testing tool is selected.”

He also noted he’s concerned about the amount of time it takes for teachers and parents to get results. Under House Bill 1003, however, ILEARN scores would have to be reported to the Indiana State Board of Education by July 1 of the year the test was taken.

However, Bosma encouraged kids to “hang in there” another year so leaders ensure the new assessment works.

“It is not the end of the world for children to take ISTEP. It is an effective, meaningful tool to assess their own process,” Bosma said.

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