ISTEP testing window opens Wednesday

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INDIANAPOLIS (February 25, 2015) - The ISTEP testing window opens Wednesday and some schools in the area will start testing students right away, including schools in IPS, Fishers Elementary and Lebanon students at the elementary level. Lebanon's middle school students start next week, as do many other schools.

Kari Ottinger, director of assessment and high ability for Lebanon Community School Corporation, says all the weather delays and cancellations did not affect practice time or regular daily lessons.

"We have had the last two days of delays and additionally last Thursday and Friday we also delayed. So we have had two hours less of instruction during the day. However, our teachers and administrators made a priority to infuse the practice items in their daily lessons throughout the day."

Ottinger says they've been preparing for two weeks.

"The time almost mirrors what we've had in the past. I will tell you as a corporation, from day one we have taken the information that we received, and our administrators did an excellent job of planning appropriately so our students would not be over-tasked on any one particular day."

Ottinger says to make sure your child gets a good breakfast on test days and plenty of sleep during the testing window.

"Parents should know that it’s an important day," she said. "And make sure their children just go in and do their own personal best that day and that they can do this, and that their schools have properly and adequately prepared them to do well on their test."

Here are statements from some area schools.

Only one school is starting tomorrow and that is Fishers Elementary School. The remainder are working with the practice test this week and will begin next week. Principals are in contact with our staff and families concerning testing schedules and will communicate any changes should weather impede. The Hamilton Southeastern Schools thanks the school community for its support during this season of inclement weather, particularly as the ISTEP testing window opens Feb. 25th. Our teachers and staff have worked diligently to prepare a supportive testing environment for students. In addition, the Indiana Department of Education has expanded the testing window and reduced testing times this year, which also will provide flexibility should school be delayed. - Hamilton Southeastern Schools

The majority of our schools are starting ISTEP testing the week of March 2nd. We're confident we'll be able to complete the testing within the required timeframe.
- Noblesville Schools

Our ISTEP testing begins next week in Brownsburg. Our students and teachers are ready and we don’t see any weather delays prohibiting students from completing the test segments within the window. - Brownsburg Schools

There is one superintendent speaking out about his strong feelings about the test.

Rocky Killion is superintendent of the West Lafayette Community School district and is the 2015 Indiana Superintendent of the Year.

"Standardized testing kills creativity, it punishes divergent thinking," said Killion. "Standardized tests, especially ISTEP, ask a lot of questions about what the results tell us, and there’s nothing that ISTEP tells us with regard to how our kids are doing with the rest of the world."

"I challenge anyone to show me the research where the best-performing countries in the world would use standardized testing to become the best in the world. There’s no evidence of that anywhere in the United States. There’s no evidence of that anywhere in the world. So if we want to compete with the world-class, we should look at what they have done to become the best and learn from them."

"If we want to standardize anything, we need to standardize the teaching profession so that regardless of where candidates go to be trained in the future, they’re getting a high-quality education," Killion continued. "So when they leave their education program they are highly-recruited, highly sought after, because research shows that the more we invest in human capital, in the teaching profession, the better our students will do academically."

"We have to ask the people of good will to stand up and say what we've been doing is wrong. We’re not doing anything to improve public education."

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