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June 30, 2014

2 different ISTEPs for next 2 years

New tests created because of state Common Core repeal, federal waiver

Indiana public school students have to take two different types of ISTEP standardized tests over the next two years to fulfill national and state standards.

The first ISTEP test is being created by contractor CTB/McGraw-Hill for use during the upcoming school year. Federal education officials have said the test would have to be given this year in order for the state to maintain its waiver from the No Child Left Behind law.

The second test is for the 2015-2106 school year and the state is seeking a contractor to design the new test.

The new tests come as part of the state’s exit from the national Common Core education standards, a move Gov. Mike Pence signed into law in the spring.

The tests are also a response to the state’s efforts to keep its federal waiver. U.S. Department of Education officials placed Indiana on watch in the spring after a review found problems with its monitoring of low-performing schools. If the state loses its waiver, it could lose control over a portion of the roughly $200 million in federal “Title I” funds it receives each year.

Liz Loposser, principal at Columbia Elementary, said it’ll be difficult to transition to the new standards on the CTB/McGraw-Hill test.

She said originally the schools were transitioning more slowly to being tested on college and career readiness, but with this test, they have to be tested on those standards that schools weren’t gradually preparing for.

Loposser said Columbia is going to do as much as they can to get students ready, but it’ll be tough.

“It would be easier on us if we were not always trying to hit a moving target,” Loposser said. “If we knew what is going to happen in advance and could plan on that, we would like that much better.”

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