Indiana schools want meaningful accountability system after low ILEARN scores

Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Education released statewide ILEARN exam results.

Posted: Sep 4, 2019 9:10 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2019 4:30 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Superintendents across Indiana are calling for changes to the school accountability system.

Wednesday, the Indiana Department of Education released statewide ILEARN exam results.

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It showed 47.9% of students in grades 3-8 met proficiency levels for language arts and 47.8% for math.

Those are both down more than 10 percentage points from last year's passing rates for the previous ISTEP exam.

"There's this glaring picture that there is something wrong here and its wrong all over the state," said Fort Wayne Community Schools superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson.

State schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick says ILEARN uses tougher standards of whether students are making sufficient progress.

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It was also the sixth time since 2009 Indiana has made changes to standardized testing.

"I can walk every day into every classroom and I know the work our students and our teachers are putting in," said Hamilton Community Schools superintendent Tony Cassel.

The test results are lower for every type of district in Indiana.

Hamilton Community Schools is one of the smallest districts with about 300 students.

That's far from the 30,000 in Fort Wayne Community Schools.

"It didn't reflect what I know had been happening and the work we had done, but then when you look at the state results, it reflects it didn't make sense for us," Robinson said.

The way the test is graded can be confusing.

Instead of grading the test as a whole, a committee rearranges each test from the easiest question to the hardest question.

Then they determine at what point every student should get the answer right.

"Then the public sees a letter grade that's slapped on a school based upon a one time test, which does not match the effort and achievement of the students," said Robinson.

That's why districts are standing together demanding change in the accountability system.

"Untie it from teacher evaluations, untie it from school grades. Hold us accountable for what truly develops students. That's the best way to do it," said East Noble School Corporation superintendent Ann Linson.

The Indiana Board of Education said Wednesday it won't take action on school letter grades until lawmakers explore how to ease the transition to ILEARN.

You can see the ILEARN results here.

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