The superintendents of both Pulaski County school corporations have sent a letter to community members expressing their concerns over the latest ISTEP test scores. West Central Superintendent Don Street says several factors contributed to the drop in scores indicated by the embargoed test results.
“We had a change in the standards, we had a change in the test format. It’s becoming more challenging, but we — our children, our students — just need time to adjust to what is expected of them and the type of test that they are to take.”
Street adds the test is not a true reflection on students or schools. Embargoed letter grades indicate a significant drop in both math and English/language arts scores.
“People have passed previous ISTEP tests, schools have done very well on their letter grades, and suddenly many schools letter grades are going to be dropping dramatically, kids’ scores are going to be dropping dramatically just because of the change and the problems with the technology of the company,” Street said.
He believes a transition year or two is needed to ensure everyone understands what is expected in terms of material on the ISTEP test.
“There’s millions of dollars, millions of taxpayer dollars spent on these tests, and maybe there’s something better that money could be used for. Accountability is important, but I think it’s more important to make sure people understand what they’re going to be held accountable to,” Street said.
Despite widespread criticism of the test, state officials have not indicated whether they intend to offer amnesty to corporations.