State could lose millions if ISTEP changes don’t happen soon

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana will have to deal with a surprising consequence of opting out of Common Core education standards.

The federal government says the state needs to give a new ISTEP test a year sooner than expected.

Superintendent Glenda Ritz told the state board education Wednesday that Indiana could lose $150 million in federal funding if it doesn’t come up with a new ISTEP test by spring. That money is a waiver the state was granted as part of “No Child Left Behind.”

The government says because Indiana dropped Common Core education standards in favor of state standards earlier this year the state now has to come up with a new standardized test that reflects Indiana’s new curriculum standards. Initially, Ritz believed the state would have a year to pilot a “new” test, and really figure out how to prepare teachers and students for the exam. Now, Indiana schools won’t have that year to prepare. They must give the new test next spring, and that has teachers concerned.

“We’re hearing from other states that when they switched to a different test based on standards that are college and career ready that the initial rounds of testing showed some drops in some scores, said President of the Indiana State Teachers Association, Teresa Meredith. “And so we don’t want anyone, student or education employee to be harmed with this initial round.”

Meredith says Superintendent Ritz proposed a plan today to give the new tests, but perhaps hold over grades and teacher evaluations for a year until the board is able to see how the new test is received. At this point there will be a new test next year, but it’s not clear right now how much it’s going to count.

24-Hour News 8 asked the Superintendent for a comment on this development, and Ritz said she didn’t have time to comment.

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