ISTEP results met with more controversy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 17, 2016) – Indiana Governor Mike Pence is responding to accusations that a State Board of Education employee may have altered a study on ISTEP testing results.

The state said they hired independent experts to look into whether ISTEP was working. The experts sent their findings in a validity report to the state. Documents obtained by CBS4 show State Board of Education Director, John Snethen, made numerous edits and recommendations to the report.

The Board of Education said the changes made did not impact the results of the findings. The state said the changes were made so that members of the public could better understand the detailed and scientific study.

In a statement, Marc Lotter, Director of External Relations for the Indiana State Board of Education said;

“Suggested edits to the executive summary, which the experts reviewed and agreed to prior to including in the final report, were aimed at making a very technical report more easily understood by the general public.  At no time did the State Board of Education staff attempt to alter the conclusions or recommendations of these nationally recognized experts in testing, as confirmed by the experts to the Associated Press. None of these suggested edits to the report’s executive summary altered the conclusions or recommendations contained in the report.”

The experts who prepared the study also said the recommendations made by Snethen didn’t impact the study.

Some lawmakers argue  Snethen didn’t have the authority to make such changes prior to the release of the findings. John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic said in a statement;

“This is politics at its worst. Governor Pence knew the state wasn’t ready for the new ISTEP test, which he pushed for to fit his own political agenda. So what does Mike Pence do to cover his tracks? He directs his appointees to manipulate a review that was originally meant to be done independently from the state. Mike Pence is now literally trying to do anything to save his election chances this fall. Hoosiers, our teachers, and our schools, however, are tired of Pence’s out-of-tough ideology crippling our state. Hoosiers need a governor who can work with Glenda Ritz – who foresaw and predicted this problem from the beginning – and help lead education into the future. That person is John Gregg.”

Governor Pence acknowledged the questions about the altered report. He said he has not yet seen the memo. Pence stated the conversation should be about asking what testing should look like in the future.

“I have every confidence in the integrity of our team, the integrity of the members of the staff of the state board of education to do their job,” Pence said.

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