Local educators are planning their next steps, following the release of the 2019 ILEARN results. Across the state, the ILEARN showed a drop in achievement levels compared to the old ISTEP test, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
At Oregon-Davis, less than a quarter of students tested were found to be proficient in both English/Language Arts and Math. Superintendent Dr. Don Harman feels that teachers are doing a phenomenal job educating students, but says the test shows that there’s room for improvement. “The bottom line is this: we are not satisfied with our ILEARN results, and we understand that we must improve in all aspects of what we do,” Harman says.
West Central Superintendent Dan Zylstra is also looking at changes. “The ILEARN scores were lower than last year’s, as they were around the state,” he explains. “I’ve talked about, with the principals, some updates that we might do to, hopefully, get those scores up a little bit higher.”
The low scores have prompted the Indiana State Board of Education has to hold off on issuing school letter grades until the General Assembly takes action to hold schools and teachers harmless for the 2019 ILEARN results. Knox Community School Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart has said that the test will never do what it’s designed to do.
But Eastern Pulaski Interim Superintendent Dr. Gib Crimmins argues that there is a good use for it. “I think it’s important that we try to use those results for what the test was intended for, and that’s to improve instruction for individual students,” Crimmins says, “and not get too wound up in using them for clearly what they were not designed for, which is to compare and contrast, using a norm reference test for political reasons.”
Crimmins says that using ILEARN results to compare schools is a misuse of the data, and schools should focus on identifying areas in which individual students need improvement.