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ISTEP Replacement Bill Clears House
Updated February 21, 2017 7:49 AM | Filed under: Education
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana House approved a bill to replace the ISTEP exam by the 2018-19 school year.

The measure by Republican Rep. Bob Behning was approved Monday on a 67-31 vote and now heads to the Senate.

The bill calls for a standardized exam for students in grades 3-8 and for students to take an end of course assessment at least once in grades 9-12.

The legislation also allows the State Board of Education to decide whether to purchase a so-called off-the-shelf exam or oversee the design of a unique test for Indiana. Lawmakers and experts have debated those choices this session.

The proposed exam would be titled "Indiana's Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network," or ILEARN for short.

Supporters want the test to be shorter and take less time to grade. They also want Indiana educators to help develop and grade it.

The ISTEP has existed in one form or another for decades. But it became a politically charged issue in recent years after Republicans undertook a number of overhauls. Students across the state performed poorly on one recent version of the test that was not only more difficult and longer, but was also plagued by administrative glitches.

Two years ago a hastily designed and updated ISTEP, coupled with new academic standards, led to a 21-point drop in the state average pass rate. Scores from the exam last year fell further. Superintendents across the state have said they no longer believe the test is a quality measure of student achievement.

The British-owned Pearson is administrating the ISTEP+ as part of a $38 million two-year contract that ends this year.

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