Indiana’s ISTEP exam scores stagnant as innovation schools see encouraging improvements

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The results for the 2017 ISTEP test are in. And for the third straight year scores for students in Indiana were flat. That points to signs education in our state isn't improving overall.

But there is a glimmer of hope in a bleak report.

About 50% of Indiana students in grades 3-8 failed the math and reading portion. That number is steady compared to last year, but it's not a sweet spot to stay in.

"So while we've seen slight increases sort of from a statewide perspective for the most part we've seen numbers that are pretty much the same as they have been in the last couple years," Press Secretary for the Indiana Department of Education, Adam Baker said.

Statewide 51.5% of third through eighth graders passed the math and reading portion compared to 51.6% last year. The 10th graders showed a little improvement. 34.4% of them passed math and reading compared to 32.2% last year.

"We always want that goal to go up. I think every year we look for those goals. We obviously have that hope that the time we're investing, the support that we're investing, Baker said.

In our area Brownsburg Community Schools were the top performer in the state with scores in the low 80's. IPS continues to struggle with only 24.5% of third through eighth graders passing the math and reading portions and only 8.8 % of tenth graders passing. But the district's innovation schools saw impressive increases like the students at Global Prep Academy.

So just in one year twice as many kids are on grade level compared to the previous year and the only thing that changed is a fantastic school leader was able to come in really engage the community, hire her own staff and have the autonomy to make real school based decisions," Senior Vice President of Education Innovation, Brandon Brown said.

Innovation schools are a part of IPS but are supported by a group called The Mind Trust that brings in creative leaders to take over schools without much state involvement. The Mind Trust has supported the launch of 16 Innovation schools in IPS.

"So we feel like the results today are a validation of the district's priority and really giving school leaders more autonomy and we think it's a clear indication that this type of work is working and should be replicated," Brown said.

This school year is the last year for ISTEP. In the 2018-2019 school year students will start taking ILEARN.

Full Spring 2017 ISTEP+ results can be found here