Change could come for ISTEP after congress seeks to replace No Child Left Behind

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 9, 2015) - No Child Left Behind is the federal law that has been blamed for a lot of over-testing of students in the United States.

Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted to replace that with a much lighter version. Some say this could be the start of a potential ISTEP solution.

Erin McBride, 14, works on her homework at her kitchen table every day. The eighth grader though has a lot more to worry about than her social studies and math homework.

“It’s just a lot of pressure knowing that you’ve got to get a certain score,” she said.

For four years, she’s had to take the ISTEP exam. Each year she says is more stressful and difficult than the last.

“I think we would all benefit a lot more if we didn’t have so much pressure on us about the ISTEP,” she said.

“Now with them sitting through this whole ISTEP and they’re dreading it, it’s like how much more longer, I mean it would go three, four hours on some of the testing,” said Erin’s mom, Jill McBride.

Jill would like to see her daughter evaluated differently. Sitting in the same room, for hours each day, for a week, she says isn’t cutting it.

“You need to be able to teach our children, not to say ok, well, let’s just see what kind of test we get so we can get federal money from the government, I mean, that is wrong,” said Jill.

The latest ISTEP scores are a clear indication something has got to give. Almost 18 percent of schools state-wide may now receive an F grade for their performance on the ISTEP.

“This decline in scores was fully anticipated we don’t want that to prejudice our schools,” said Governor Mike Pence about the latest ISTEP scores and the possible impact to state schools.

A possible solution though is on the horizon. U.S. lawmakers are replacing No Child Left Behind the federal law seen as widely responsible for over-testing in states, with another law, the Every Student Succeeds Act which would eliminate the punishment of states that do not perform as well on standardized exams. Additionally, the new law would leave states responsible for crafting their own methods of accountability.

Ultimately, the change, some hope, may mean an end to the ISTEP as we know it.

“A teacher shouldn’t be graded on what she can teach these kids just to pass the ISTEP. What’s important is that the teacher is teaching our kids,” said McBride.

The President may sign the replacement bill for No Child Left Behind into law as early as this week.

Though Indiana has opted out of No Child Left Behind for several years, the state has still been held accountable in other ways by the federal government. Those other accountabilities with this change, would be removed.

 

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