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Allen County public school superintendents react to ILEARN scores

(Supplied/Indiana Department of Education)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO) – With the release of the ILEARN scores today by the Indiana Department of Education, public schools in Allen County are pushing to the state to stop changing standardized tests.

The ILEARN has replaced the ISTEP as the state-mandated test.  Schools and districts have been told by the state that the percentage of students that meet or exceed the newly-defined passing scores is considerably lower than in previous years.

The ILEARN is the sixth time that the state tests, the state standards tested on the state tests, or the company administering the state tests have changed since 2009 and the third change since 2015. Every time there is a change, the state test generates a new state-defined passing score.  Since 2009, each change to the cut score has led to a decrease in the percentage of passing students.

Before the public release of the results of ILEARN, Governor Eric Holcomb, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick and others have called for a “hold harmless” exemption to prevent schools and teachers from being penalized as a result of the test results.

The superintendents would like to talk with policymakers to develop assessments and accountability systems that help teachers foster each student’s talents.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson says “Our focus every day is the teaching and learning that takes place in each classroom in Fort Wayne Community Schools.  We do not believe these test scores are an accurate reflection of our students’ successes or the hard work of our staff. Parents who want to fully understand where their child is currently academically and where they are headed, should talk to their child’s teachers. They are the experts.”

“The lower scores do not reflect a lack of performance by our students, our teachers, or our schools,” said Chris Himsel, superintendent, Northwest Allen County Schools.  Himsel also says “We urge policymakers to stop the cycle of constant changes. Our students are uniquely talented. We need a system that allows each of their unique talents to be developed.”

RELATED: 2019 ILEARN results released

“We would like to thank Gov. Holcomb for his support to hold harmless our hard working students, teachers and schools following the release of the ILEARN and I AM 2019 spring test results,” said Philip G. Downs, superintendent, Southwest Allen County Schools. “Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray also shared his support for hold harmless and added, ‘A strong accountability system is important for our students and schools, but we must be sure the system is fair.’ SACS could not agree more.”

“East Allen County Schools analyzes all student data,” said Marilyn Hissong, superintendent, East Allen County Schools. “We use multiple assessments to measure the growth of our students and ILEARN is one of the measures. We will continue to teach students and prepare them for their future whether it is college and career or other opportunities. While assessments are part of the educational process, so is educating the whole child and meeting his/her specific needs.”

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