Smooth sailing for ISTEP so far as testing window opens

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 25, 2015) - Indianapolis Public Schools, Lebanon Community Schools and Fishers Elementary in the Hamilton Southeastern Schools district were among the first to begin ISTEP testing. The testing window officially opened Wednesday, but many districts won't begin testing until next week.

So far, the districts aren't reporting any major problems with the test. The exam drew a lot of criticism this year, because it more than doubled in length. Monday, legislators voted to approve recommendations by the Department of Education that would shorten the test by more than three hours. Governor Mike Pence quickly signed the bill that makes those cuts possible into law.

IPS Spokesperson Kristin Cutler says, despite the recent changes, the district was ready to kick off testing Wednesday.

“Everybody was prepared," says Cutler. "The state communicated any changes to IPS and we were able to communicate all of those to our instructors at all the schools, so everybody was ready to rock today.”

At Lebanon Community Schools, school administrators are reporting smooth sailing for the first day of ISTEP testing for grades 3-5.

Amber Targgart, Principal at Perry-Worth Elementary School, says, "ISTEP+ went well. The kids were not stressed. The teachers were awesome. Our K-2 teachers and students made banners to wish the test takers luck. They hung them up as a surprise at the entrance of each pod. It was great!"

Pam Davis, Assistant Principal at Harney Elementary School, says, "Our testing went very smoothly. We are very thankful to have such flexible and cooperative staff and students."

Amy Sutton, Assistant Principal at Central Elementary School, says, "Everything went smoothly! We had additional proctors in each room to assist test examiners to ensure that students were taking the correct test session. However, clearly marked page numbers made it easy for students, as well as test examiners and proctors, to confirm students were taking the correct sessions. It was fine!"

Kelly Sollman, Principal at Hattie B. Stokes Elementary School, says, "Day 1 of testing went well. We are very appreciative of a great support staff. Fabulous effort by all!"

Parents across the state are urged to make sure students come to school prepared to give their best effort when taking the ISTEP.

“Be sure to eat a good meal, eat a nice healthy breakfast that morning. Be sure to get to school in time to get that breakfast that all of our students have available to them. Eat a good dinner the night before, and be sure to get plenty of sleep," says Cutler. "Another thing for the whole family – for parents, students, siblings – just try to keep the day drama free. When you wake up in the morning, siblings can get into a little tif, but if you keep it calm, everybody is going to be on board for a good day.”