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Report says Indiana can trim English and extra questions from ISTEP

The Indiana State Board of Education first learned about the longer ISTEP exam at its packed Feb. 4 meeting.
The Indiana State Board of Education first learned about the longer ISTEP exam at its packed Feb. 4 meeting.
Scott Elliott

The final report from national testing experts on how best to shorten this year’s ISTEP test was released today by Gov. Mike Pence’s office.

Pence hired testing experts Edward Roeber, of Michigan, and Bill Auty, of Oregon, to review the original exam and find ways to shorten it after the Indiana State Board of Education members learned it could take children as long as 12 hours to complete.

Roeber and Auty came up with a list of ways the state could reduce the test’s length, some of which were supported by the Indiana Department of Education and already adopted by the Indiana legislature last month. The ideas were initially presented at the board’s special meeting on Feb. 13.

After Pence called for immediate action and brought in the experts, state Superintendent Glenda Ritz and education department staff helped devise a list of of changed to cut the exam to nine hours. Some of those changes required waivers from state law that were rushed through the legislature and signed by Pence last week.

“I commend these nationally-recognized assessment experts, Edward Roeber and Bill Auty, for their efforts to thoroughly and efficiently review and make recommendations to shorten the 2015 ISTEP+ test — Indiana’s students, teachers and families deserved no less,” Pence said in a statement. “In addition, their report provides insights to be considered regarding the 2016 ISTEP+ test, and we appreciate their forward-looking approach.”

ISTEP testing began in Indiana schools as early as last week. A second part of the exam will be given beginning in late April.

Background on this year’s debates over the length of the 2015 ISTEP test:

Plans for how ISTEP is changing:

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