Regarding ILEARN test results

Parents and Community Members of Greensburg Schools:

The Indiana Department of Education has released the 2018-2019 ILEARN test results. Greensburg Community Schools saw lower achievement levels across grade levels, as did most school districts in the state. This decrease was expected, as shared by Dr. McCormick last week. This decrease happens when transitioning from one new assessment to another new assessment (from ISTEP+ to ILEARN). Even though this is expected it is very frustrating to the teachers and students that worked very hard in preparing for the test. Most school districts saw less than a 50% pass rate on the combined language arts and math test. When looking at surrounding districts we were in the 35-40 % pass rate. These scores would be alarming if they had any validity as to what was happening in classrooms across the state. We keep being expected to hit a moving target that is validated by our politicians because we are being told these new tests are more rigorous and emphasize college and career readiness for our students.

We do not argue that good accountability data is important. We use it for providing adjustments in our instruction when students are struggling or already know the material. Our NWEA data that we have for grades 3-10 allow us to see real time academic growth from fall through spring. This is not just a one-time look at the student but helps us measure progress. ILEARN is a one- time assessment of the student. It does not allow us to make adjustments over the year and the results come to us long after the student has left that particular grade level. We need to make instructional decisions in a timely manner. Greensburg Schools does not feel that the ILEARN test provides any timely assessment that we can use to help students. The state has elected to spend tens of millions of dollars on a flawed test that helps no one. The state needs to give schools these millions of dollars so we can provide more services for our students. This is the second time a high stakes test has resulted in legislative action to hold districts and schools harmless. Hopefully, Governor Holcomb and the legislators will see fit to grant this reprieve so that school letter grades and teacher evaluations are not adversely affected by these results. If we are going to use this test, then give us time to prepare our students for the rigor. This test serves no purpose and I, like most school Superintendents in Indiana, would ask that we not use these results to grade our students, teachers, schools, and school districts. There are better ways to evaluate the effectiveness of schools. The ILEARN test was never designed to measure what it currently assesses.

Greensburg Community Schools will focus on providing students with great educational opportunities. We will strive to continually improve the quality of education we offer to our students. Our accountability will be determined ultimately by every student being capable of pursuing a meaningful career after graduation. I really doubt any student will ever be asked what their ILEARN score was, at any grade level, when they apply for a job or college. We understand that we are going to be held accountable by a test score but we hope this test can look at the whole child and the whole educational experience of that child. Students deserve this and teachers deserve this. Before you judge your school make sure you go to the DOE website and look at the scores of all schools across the state. This might help you decide the validity of this test. Talk to your legislators and help put an end to this insanity.

Tom Hunter, Superintendent, Greensburg Schools

ILEARN was exercise in insanity

Dear Families and Stakeholders,

The Indiana Department of Education recently released the statewide results of the ILEARN assessment that grades 3-8 took last school year.

ILEARN is the new state assessment for English/language arts and mathematics that is designed to be rigorous and computer-adaptive to measure student growth and achievement.

As we visit classrooms throughout the district, teachers are regularly providing outstanding educational experiences. Students attend schools that provide them with a safe, supportive, and collaborative culture. There is effective teaching in every classroom where students receive a guaranteed and viable curriculum. We routinely implement a variety of formative and interim assessments where students are showing growth and achievement through these various assessments.

This is the first time ILEARN has been administered within the State of Indiana. This meant that the format and administration changed from previous years and caused anxiety and frustration within many students. We firmly believe when our students graduate they will be college and career ready. However we do not believe ILEARN is the sole indicator of this success. Our students are dedicated and hard working, allowing them to persevere and be successful citizens of our community.

We support the Indiana General Assembly in taking action to pass a hold harmless bill that will not have schools held accountable to assessment results that do not accurately reflect student achievement. With the state preparing to make changes to the English/language arts and mathematics standards, the state needs to be systematic in their approach so that the assessment is not in a constant state of change. Lastly, we urge the Department of Education to perform a review of the process that they used to develop ILEARN to prevent future problems with the implementation of future assessments.

We firmly believe that DCCS has great things happening on a daily basis. If you have any questions, we are both available to answer any questions that you have.

Working together,

Dr. Jarrod Burns, Superintendent, Decatur County Community Schools

Nicholas Flowers, Ed.S. Assistant Superintendent, Decatur County Community Schools

Thank you

Dear Daily News:

Thank you for printing the articles by Todd Golden and Rick Teverbaugh concerning Andrew Luck. We have a right to know the real story.

Patricia Benge, Greensburg

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