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Indiana’s new ILEARN test is expected to be shorter than ISTEP

Students could spend about five to six hours taking the new ILEARN test next school year — three hours shorter than recent ISTEP exams, Indiana education officials said Wednesday.

Frustrations over testing time came to a head for educators and parents in 2015, when ISTEP was projected to reach 12 hours. Then-Gov. Mike Pence issued an executive order to have lawmakers shorten it, and the test was quickly cut down before students took it.

The length of the current ISTEP test falls somewhere in between the marathon test in 2015 and ILEARN projections, said Indiana Department of Education spokesman Adam Baker. This year, students are expected to spend between seven and eight-and-a-half hours on ISTEP depending on their grade level.

Here are the estimated ILEARN testing times, which are still tentative and only include estimates for elementary and middle school students:

  • English: 116-164 minutes
  • Math: 100-125 minutes
  • Science (grades 4 and 6): 104 minutes
  • Social studies (grade 5): 82 minutes

Next year, ILEARN will be given once in late spring, instead of the two sessions Indiana students have now for ISTEP.

Lawmakers are still debating what high school exams will look like. A bill this year has proposed that Indiana students would take a national college entrance exam, such as the ACT or SAT.

However, high-schoolers must still meet federal requirements by taking a science end-of-course exam, which is projected to take 126 minutes. An optional U.S. Government end-of-course exam that lawmakers approved last year could take an hour.