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WOWO talks ISTEP exams with FWCS’ board president

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): With the recent news that a state panel will be rolling out a proposal on their recommendation for the ISTEP replacement exam, WOWO News wanted to get a local perspective on the current standardized test.

Mark GiaQuinta, President of the Fort Wayne Community Schools’ Board says it’s important to first look at what the ISTEP was originally proposed to do.

“The standardized test was always intended to give teachers feedback on how the students were doing and where they needed more instruction,” GiaQuinta said. “They were never intended to gauge progress in the school.”

After some schools experienced difficulties with the test, GiaQuinta said, it was decided that the state needed a new test. However, he says, creating a replacement exam is a difficult task.

“Well to create a new standardized test it takes about three years, you have to validate it… that was never done. So instead they just threw a test out, but worse yet, they hadn’t proposed teaching standards so that the teachers could teach the students the material that was going to be on the test… so add to that a third problem, when they gave the unvalidated test, to students who hadn’t been taught the material, the computer software couldn’t handle the test so it broke down during the course of the test.”

GiaQuinta said all of the complications made it difficult to explain why test results had fallen dramatically and he went on to say, “…the whole thing is a colossal disaster.”

On the other hand, he says, the graduation rate for the public school system has gone up to about 89 percent. “That’s the real indicator of how hard our teachers are working in the classroom.”

Members of a state panel, charged with creating the replacement exam, say lawmakers can expect a detailed proposal into their recommendations by the December deadline.

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