ILEARN results show drop in achievement levels across the state

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – ILEARN results are out and results show statewide that most students failed, however state leaders say the results aren’t a true reflection of Indiana Schools. Based on the ILEARN data, if you were to give each Indiana school a letter grade, half of the schools would be given a D or F.

“I understand those feelings and those emotions that are running high right now in the state of Indiana,” said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The scores are supposed to reflect if a student, grades 3 through 8 is college and career ready. ILEARN was developed with input from over 1,200 educators.

“The assessment was much more rigorous this year than it was in the past,” said McCormick, “The skills that had a lot more weight on their scores that were assessed look different than they did in the past. Our goal is to make sure students in that 3-8 space are prepared for high school and beyond. This is one indication of that performance.”

According to the ILEARN data for English and Language Arts and Math combined, the results show a 37.1% proficient statewide. Superintendent McCormick says that doesn’t reflect what’s happening inside Indiana classrooms. Statewide for grade 3 through 8, students were 47.9% proficient in English and Language Arts, 47.8% in Math, 47.4% in Science and 46.0% in Social Studies.

“How can we best help the students?” asked Dr. Chad Michalek, the Coordinator for Grants and Assessments at MSD Washington Township.

Scores for Washington Township schools landed below state average. The corporation results show a 45.0% proficient rate in English and Language Arts and 42.5% in Math.

“We have a lot of students who come to us who are significantly below grade level or above grade level. It’s a disservice to them to measure them only on grade level content,” said Michalek.

Michalek says the value of these assessments are becoming lost. In the last ten years, Indiana educators have dealt with four different assessments and Michalek says that can be very challenging.

“If we continue down this road where we’re changing up assessments or standards every two years no one is ever going to take the test seriously,” said Michalek.

Although there continues to be challenges, the Department of Education says there has to be an assessment.

“We have to administer an exam, it’s not a choice for Indiana to say hey, we’re tapping out. That’s not a choice. We have one billion dollars on the line,” said McCormick, “It’s one piece of assessing where their child is at but there are a lot of other pieces.  There are grades, there are other assessments that are being ran, informal and formally.”

The low scores could impact teacher evaluations. Schools and state leaders are demanding action from legislators, like a hold harmless on this year’s accountability grades. The Department of Education is also proposing a pause intervention timeline, and to provide the State Board of Education with emergency rule making authority. That would be used to review and reestablish the state accountability system.

“The State Board would need to have emergency rule making in order to address the state accountability scale, because if it’s not addressed, we’re going to come back next year and have to ask for the exact same thing,” said McCormick, “Government is as slow as molasses and you’ve got kids on the line.”

On Wednesday, the State Board of Education approved a resolution to affirm that there will be no action to place school letter grades until the General Assembly explores the ILEARN data. The State Board of Education sent this statement.

“In line with Gov. Holcomb’s call to hold harmless, the Board will not place school letter grades until the General Assembly takes the appropriate action to ensure this year’s ILEARN scores do not have an adverse impact on schools and teachers,” said B.J. Watts, board chair. “Once action has been taken, the Board will hold a special meeting to assign those grades.”

For the full list of ILEARN data for every school in the state, click here.

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