Stand for Children Indiana Executive Director Justin Ohlemiller issued the following statement regarding the early results from the new ISTEP test:
“The drop in ISTEP scores made public today was to be expected. And frankly, it is incumbent on our state education leaders to do all they can to help parents and families understand why the drop has occurred.
“For the first time, potentially ever in our state’s history, we have rigorous college-and-career-ready standards that are aligned with a rigorous assessment. In reality, this is nothing short of our state hitting a reset button on our educational expectations, which was desperately needed.
“For far too long, we had high standards, but a low-quality ISTEP test that fell well short of truly measuring whether a student has the tools needed to succeed after high school. The result was an honesty gap, where parents and families were being told by the old ISTEP that their child was ready for college, when in reality, thousands of Hoosier kids were showing up on university campuses to find they needed to take remedial classes. This old system put kids at risk of dropping out of college before graduation, and even more tragically, gave others false hope that they were on a college track, when they didn’t qualify.
“It’s long past due that we have an assessment that gives a more accurate portrayal of the tools and skills students need for future success. The score drop is an indication that important shift is happening now in Indiana. And to be clear, it does not mean our children are less smart or performing markedly worse this year, or that our schools are performing much lower. It simply means our state has gotten smarter about ensuring we’re being more honest with parents and students, and that we finally have a system with 21st Century standards. In the medium and long run, students, schools and families will all benefit from this change in our assessment and standards.”