Senator Responds to Lower ISTEP+ Scores

Sen. Randy Head
Sen. Randy Head

At least one state lawmaker has weighed in on the significant drop in ISTEP+ scores. Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, represents the southern portion of Marshall County. He says low scores are a result of the new, more difficult test being graded against the same expectations as the old test. Head adds Hoosiers should not view the drop in scores as a signal that schools are failing.

In a statement he says comparing this year’s ISTEP+ scores to those of past years is “like comparing apples to oranges.” He says neither teachers nor schools are to blame for the lower results.

Head adds, quote, “Rest assured that my colleagues and I recognize the importance of being fair to teachers and schools in this transitional period.”

He promised to consider all proposed solutions that would address this drop in scores in the upcoming legislative session, including any necessary action to modify portions of Indiana’s accountability system in order to make sure teachers and schools are treated fairly given the lower scores.

It’s unclear what those options will be. If no action is taken, the double-digit drop in both English/language arts and math scores will reflect negatively on school districts throughout the state. Options approved by the U.S. Department of Education include either freezing scores or what State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz calls a “hold harmless” approach. It would allow schools to choose between their 2013-14 or 2014-15 ISTEP scores, whichever ones are better. Gov. Mike Pence has yet to offer an opinion as to what should be done with regard to the scores. There’s also no word yet on when scores will be publicly released.