2015 Indiana superintendent of the year: ‘Home-school kids during ISTEP’

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Feb. 24, 2015)-- Nearly half a million Indiana students start the ISTEP test Wednesday. Governor Mike Pence signed a bill Monday that shortens the test from twelve hours to nine hours. The bill passed the Indiana House and Senate  unanimously.

West Lafayette Community School District Superintendent Rocky Killion says parents can home-school their children if they prefer their students not take the ISTEP.

"As someone who cares very deeply about the insanity of standardized testing and the abuse of it. We are using the wrong kinds of tests in America. And, we are using the tests in the wrong ways. Parents are asking what they can do and that`s the only recommendation I have to them," said Rocky Killion.

Rocky Killion is the 2015 Indiana superintendent of the year produced a documentary "Rise Above The Mark" about the negative impact standardized tests can have on public education.

Superintendent Killion says until the ISTEP is reformed, parents should home-school kids if that's what they prefer to do.

"Standardized testing kills creatively and it punishes thinking," said Killion.

The Indiana Department of Education disagrees with Killion. Both federal and state money is tied to test results.

"It is a federal requirement that we take the ISTEP. If we don`t have 95 percent of Indiana students take the ISTEP, that puts federal funding in jeopardy and would hurt entire state," said Daniel Altman with the Indiana Department of Education.

A school's state accountability grade is also tied to test results.

"It is incredibly important that students take the ISTEP," said Altman.

This year's ISTEP will have fewer pilot questions and fifth and seventh graders will not take the social studies portion.

The testing period lasts a few weeks.