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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, December 05, 2017 1:00 am

Indiana voices

State flunking on ISTEP replacement

Indiana's government has long pushed high-stakes testing for accountability of students and teachers. Yet, its handling of major changes to that process resembles a kid scrambling to complete a term paper.

The state's Graduation Pathways Panel has recommended an end to Indiana's existing graduation exit exam – the dreaded ISTEP and end-of-course assessments. Instead, all Hoosier high school students would take college entrance exams, such as the SAT and ACT, beginning with the Class of 2023, if the plan receives further approval from the General Assembly. Those tests would meet state and federal accountability requirements.

Educators also point out that college entrance exams do not necessarily test the skills taught in Indiana classrooms. The SAT and ACT are instead based on national college benchmarks.

A state Board of Education member said two high-ranking legislators on the panel favor the idea, and he believes it fits Gov. Eric Holcomb's Next Level Agenda on workforce development.

Nonetheless, administrators and teachers in the trenches remain unconvinced of the plan's worthiness, especially with the likelihood that a significant number of Hoosier kids will not be proficient on a college entrance exam. The proposal is not ready for prime time.

– Tribune-Star,Terre Haute