Ritz anticipates 20-30 percent drop in ISTEP scores

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 1, 2015)-- There are new concerns over ISTEP scores. State Superintendent Glenda Ritz announced at the board of directors of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County Monday, she anticipates scores will be down 20-30 percent this year compared to last.

Ritz attributes her guess to the test’s new, harder standards, and a new format that students were not used to.

“This is a volatile time for our state standardized assessment, for the ISTEP,” said Wayne Township Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jeff Butts.

Butts was not happy to hear that ISTEP scores may be dropping by double digits this year. The news though, did not come as much of a surprise.

“I think it’s hard to first predict how low those scores will actually be or how much lower those scores will actually be. I think it’s common belief that any time you have a new assessment or a new way of assessing information, new standards, you’re going to have a implementation dip,” he said.

According to Butts, rigorous standards and a different ISTEP format almost guaranteed students’ performance would drop.

But that’s not his only concern with the troubled test, “In reality, we’re not even going to focus on the 2014-15 test scores because they’ll come in so late, they’re irrelevant,” he said.

Due to a grading issue, McGraw Hill, the test provider, announced earlier this summer, school systems won’t receive their scores until next year, more than halfway through the school year; leaving almost no time for teachers to help students grow on problem areas from this year’s test.

“It’s really concerning when we’re trying to utilize that data to do any kind of measurement whatsoever. We’re really pushing for and we believe a better assessment will be the formative assessments that Superintendent Ritz and the DOE have put into place,” said Butts.

Since test vendors are switching next year from McGraw Hill to CTB, administrators are anticipating another tough year for test scores, with likely a totally different format again.