By Shelby Mullis
Following ongoing controversy over Indiana student assessments, the Indiana Department of Education released the statewide and local 2015 ISTEP scores Wednesday.
In 2015, 67.3 percent of students passed the English/Language Arts section, 61 percent passed the Mathematics section and 53.5 percent passed both sections. Additionally, 69.2 percent of fourth and sixth grade students passed the Science section and 70.4 percent of fifth and seventh grade students passed the optional Social Studies section.
Education leaders said the 2015 ISTEP scores are not comparable to previous years’ pass rates because of changes to the 2015 assessment, but instead are used to show the percentage of students meeting new changes, implemented to create new, rigorous college and career ready standards in 2015.
The exam was modified to include the new college and career ready benchmarks at each grade level.
“After years of legislative changes at both the state and federal level, our schools were asked once again to implement new standards and subject students to a new assessment without time to transition,” Glenda Ritz, superintendent of public instruction, said in a press release.
A bill introduced in the Senate Tuesday would prevent the 2015 results from hurting school accountability grades because of the previously predicted drop in scores.
The 2015 scores are significantly lower than the 2014 ISTEP scores.
2014 ISTEP scores reported 80.7 percent of students passed the English/Language Arts section, 83.5 percent of students passed the Mathematics section and 74.7 percent of students passed both portions.
Wednesday’s announcement accompanied Ritz’s call for an end to the “one-size-fits-all high stakes approach” of the ISTEP, according to a press release.
“Moving forward, I will work with the General Assembly to oversee the development of this assessment so we can better serve each individual student’s needs,” Ritz said in a statement. “In addition, as the Chair of the State Board of Education, I will recommend action to ensure that each school’s accountability grade is determined by meaningful measures and not just by test scores.”
Shelby Mullis is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.