GREENSBURG – The Indiana Department of Education released ILEARN results Wednesday, showing the test’s first statistics since it was incorporated last school year.
According to the IDOE, mandated during the 2017 legislative session, ILEARN was created to serve as a replacement for ISTEP+. ILEARN assesses CCR content standards in English/language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8, science in grades 4 and 6, high school biology, social studies in grade 5, and U.S. Government in high school. The state’s new assessment went through several significant shifts, including:
• The development of content priorities defined with the assistance of Indiana educators,
• Computer-adaptive functionality,
• Integration of new accessibility features such as translated glossaries, and a Spanish translation option, and
• Reporting aligned to rigorous CCR indicators as early as grade 3.
In the last week, the IDOE has made sure to let the public know the scores for the new test would be lower. The department stated in a news release that when compared to past ISTEP+ scores, ILEARN indicated lower achievement levels across the state in both English/language arts and mathematics.
The department added that while performance dips to some degree were expected, the combination of the rigors associated with this newly aligned CCR assessment, national normative data, and the defined established performance cuts all contributed to the lower performance levels. With the negative impact assessment results have on educators, schools, districts, and communities, IDOE will advocate for responsive legislative action.
That proposed legislative action pertains to placing a hold harmless year on 2018-2019 letter grades, pausing intervention timelines for all schools, and providing the State Board of Education with emergency rulemaking authority to review and reestablish the state accountability system.
By holding harmless, test scores would not have an adverse impact on teacher evaluations and school letter grades for the 2018-2019 school year.
Within the Greensburg Community School Corporation, Greensburg Junior High School had an overall 49.8 percent proficiency rate in English/Language Arts. Greensburg Elementary School brought in a 57.4 percent proficiency rate in the same category.
For the Mathematics portion of the test, GJHS received a 36.8 percent proficiency rate. GES received a 58.4 percent proficiency rate.
At GJHS, the percentage of students who received a proficiency rating in both English/Language Arts and Mathematics was 31.1 percent. At GES, 46.7 percent were proficient in both categories.
As for the Science category, 47.4 percent of students were proficient in the category at GJHS. At GES, 63.6 percent of students received a proficiency rating for the Science portion.
Finally, for the Social Studies portion of the test, which is only taken at the elementary level, 59.9 percent of students were proficient.
“Everyone’s scores were down this year,” Greensburg Community School Corporation Superintendent Tom Hunter said. “We can use this as a baseline for scores in the future, and see what we can do to improve.”
When it was announced that a request for legislative action to hold school’s harmless would be pursued, Hunter told the Daily News “rational behavior” is being used, and indicated he is pleased to see they are not using the results to make “erroneous” judgements about teachers and schools.
For the state as a whole, 47.9 percent of students were proficient in English/Language Arts, 47.8 percent were proficient in Mathematics, 37.1 percent were proficient in both English/Language Arts and Mathematics, 47.4 percent were proficient in Science and 46 percent were proficient in Social Studies.
The state superintendent also issued a statement on the ILEARN results.
“While the 2019 ILEARN results do not provide a true reflection of the performance of Indiana’s schools, they do once again show us the importance of developing a modernized state legislated accountability system that is fair, accurate, and transparent,” State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick said.
This is the first of a two part series. The second story will focus on Decatur County Community Schools.