INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WANE) -- - About 70 percent of Indiana's students passed state exams, whichwere given this spring for the first time in years.
Statewide, 70 percent of students passed the English portionof the ISTEP test while 71 percent passed math. Only 62 percent ofstudents who took a science test passed, while just 59 percentpassed social studies.
The results released Wednesday are the state's first recentglimpse at scores from spring tests. Previous ISTEP tests weregiven in the fall.
Overall passing rates this spring were similar to fallnumbers, but the Indiana Department of Education cautions againstcomparing the scores since the spring test is a new exam and isscored differently.
The spring scores will set a baseline for future scores
You can find complete ISTEP+ results by clicking here .
NewsChannel 15's Chris Hopper is getting reaction to theresults. Look for his reports on NewsChannel 15 at 5 and6.
The following news release was issued by the Indiana State Department of Education:
The 2009 Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress-Plus(ISTEP+) results, released today by Superintendent of PublicInstruction Dr. Tony Bennett, revealed many Indiana students werechallenged by the new test and benchmarks. The test, administeredlast spring, resulted in statewide pass rates of 70 percent inEnglish/Language Arts, 71percent in Mathematics, 62 percent inScience and 59 percent in Social Studies.
“The results remind us that there is much work to be doneby the department, communities, schools and in students’homes to improve student learning in Indiana,” Bennett said.“We must not accept these numbers, and we must work togetherevery day to achieve our goal of 90 percent of students passing theISTEP+.”
Twenty-one schools had at least 90 percent of their studentspass both the Mathematics and English/Language Arts portions of theISTEP+.
Students at Dupont Elementary in Jefferson County performedabove the 90 percent benchmark once again after slipping below thebenchmark last year. Likewise, Brentwood Elementary in Plainfieldpushed its students above 90 percent for the first time in nineyears, with 92.5 percent passing both the Mathematics andEnglish/Language Arts portions of the ISTEP+.
“I am encouraged by the results in some of our schools. Wemust not only applaud them but also use them as examples forstruggling schools around the state,” Bennett said.“The goal for all schools must be continued improvement. Wewant our low-achieving schools to get better and our high-achievingschools to keep raising the bar each day. Indiana needs a renewedcommitment to education, because our current approach isn’tachieving the results we need.”
In June, national experts and key decision-makers gathered inIndiana for the first ever Indiana Math Summit. The summit was thefirst of many steps the state is taking to raise awareness aboutthe importance of math, to reach a consensus around what works toimprove math achievement and to create a sense of urgency that nowis the time for change in classrooms and communities acrossIndiana. On October 1 of this year, the Department of Educationwill host the first ever Indiana Reading Summit to address some ofthe same concerns in English/Language Arts.
Due to changes in the test, its benchmarks and the new springadministration, these results are significantly different thanprevious versions of the ISTEP+ and don’t allow for directyear-to-year comparisons.
All ISTEP+ information, including performance data for eachcorporation and school, is available online atwww.doe.in.gov/istep.
About the new Spring ISTEP+
The goal of ISTEP+ is to measure how well students perform andcomprehend the skills and content outlined in Indiana’sAcademic Standards. The move from fall to spring added Indiana tothe overwhelming number of states that already administer federalaccountability assessments in the spring. Like the previous test,the new spring version of ISTEP+ includes open-ended andmultiple-choice questions in English/Language Arts and Mathematicsat each grade level, as well as Science at grades 4 and 6 andSocial Studies at grades 5 and 7. Although the overall format ofthe test remained the same, including essay and multiple-choicequestions, the spring test was administered in two sessions.
Based on feedback from parents and educators, ISTEP+administration was moved from fall to spring beginning last schoolyear to ensure students are tested on current grade-levelcompetency. When the test is administered in the spring, the ISTEP+is a more accurate measure of a student’s performance withinthe current school year and better enables opportunities forremediation during the summer.
In addition to the new test and process, new cut scores, alsocalled baselines or benchmarks, were established. In July,approximately 160 teachers from across the state gathered torecommend new cut scores, review the test and examine how studentsperformed on the Indiana Academic Standards. The new cut scores canbe found online at www.doe.in.gov/istep/2009.
Upon review, educators found some items that did not matchgrade-level standards. These items were suppressed and were notpart of students’ scores.
Supporting Students & Parents
ISTEP+ Parent Network: Last year, the Department of Educationestablished the ISTEP+ Parent Network, an online resource offeringparents secure access to their students’ ISTEP+ scores.Accessible on demand throughout the year atwww.doe.in.gov/istepparentnetwork, families can use the ISTEP+Parent Network to review students’ latest assessment resultsquickly and easily and connect to useful educational resources.Parents who do not receive a letter containing secure ISTEP+ ParentNetwork login information should contact the student’s schooldirectly.
On Track Resource Guides: The state’s On Trackmini-magazine series is designed to help parents stay connected andsupport student learning throughout the year. Distributed annuallyto families across Indiana, these guides highlight what studentsare expected to know at each grade level, offer helpful learningtips and provide Web links to additional online resources. Visitwww.doe.in.gov/publications to learn more.
Supporting Teachers & Schools
Computer-based assessment tools: Last year, teachers from morethan 600 Indiana schools were trained to use new computer-basedassessments provided by the state. These tools are designed to helpteachers conduct quick mini-checkups of student performancethroughout the school year so learning issues can be addressed asmaterial is taught rather than waiting until the high-stakes ISTEP+test. Within a year, these voluntary tools will be available toevery school corporation statewide.
Core Standards: Since being adopted in 2000, Indiana’sK-12 Academic Standards have been consistently recognized as amongthe best in the country by state and national organizations. Infact, Indiana’s standards were ranked first in the nation byEducation Weekly’s annual “Quality Counts”report. But many Indiana teachers have expressed a need for a moremanageable set of academic concepts that emphasize the “bigideas” across the curriculum. The Indiana Department ofEducation responded by developing Indiana’s Core Standards.The Core Standards highlight the essential skills so teachers canfocus their efforts on ensuring students are prepared for the nextgrade level and higher-level content. Visitwww.doe.in.gov/standards to learn more.
Differentiated Accountability: Last year, Indiana was selectedas one of six states to participate in the U.S. Department ofEducation’s Differentiated Accountability Program pilot. Thenew federal program allows the state greater flexibility intargeting assistance to underperforming schools based on theirlevel of need. Indiana now provides struggling schools with morehelp earlier, like hiring full-time literacy and math coaches,participating in the state’s reading and math academies,working with state support teams and training educators to use thenew computer-based assessment tools. Schools that do not improvewill face significant restructuring actions, including steps likereplacing the school principal or other staff, extending the schoolday or year, closing the school and reopening as a charter schoolor contracting with a private management company to run the school.Visit www.doe.in.gov/TitleI/differentiated_accountability.html tolearn more.
More about ISTEP+
ISTEP+ is given annually to approximately 500,000 students ingrades 3-8. ISTEP+ offers a snapshot of student progress at aspecific point in time, providing educators, students and parentswith information they can use to identify specific strengths andareas of need at each grade level. Visit www.doe.in.gov/istep tolearn more.
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