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Standardized test scores plummet

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The four school districts within the borders of Clinton County scored poorly on their first ILEARN, joining a consistent pattern that has drawn concern across the state.

The Indiana Department of Education released the Spring 2019 Indiana Learning Evaluation and Readiness Network (ILEARN) results last week. ILEARN was established in 2017 as a replacement for the ISTEP+ test. The ILEARN assessment is in compliance with the federal ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) requirements and is focused on the College and Career Readiness standards of students from elementary to high school. The new test assesses College and Career Readiness content standards in English/language Arts (ELA) and mathematics in grades 3-8, science in grades 4 and 6, high school biology, social studies in grade 5, and U.S. Government in high school.

Community Schools of Frankfort was 33.9 percent proficient in ELA and 34.1 percent proficient in math, Clinton Prairie was 38.4 percent proficient in ELA and 42.6 percent proficient in math, Clinton Central was 44.2 percent proficient in ELA and 48.6 percent proficient in math, and Rossville Consolidated School District was 51.6 percent proficient in ELA and 53.9 percent proficient in math.

The statewide averages for ILEARN were 47.9 percent proficiency in ELA and 47.8 percent in math.

 According to a press release sent by the IDOE on Wednesday, when compared to past ISTEP+ scores, ILEARN indicated lower achievement levels across the state in both English/language arts and mathematics. While performance dips to some degree were expected, the combination of the rigors associated with this newly aligned CCR assessment, national normative data, and the defined established performance cuts all contributed to the lower performance levels. With the negative impact assessment results have on educators, schools, districts, and communities, IDOE will advocate for responsive legislative action.

“While the 2019 ILEARN results do not provide a true reflection of the performance of Indiana’s schools, they do once again show us the importance of developing a modernized state legislated accountability system that is fair, accurate, and transparent,” said State Superintendent Dr. Jennifer McCormick. “With this in mind, the Department will propose the following legislative actions: place a ‘hold harmless’ year on 2018-2019 letter grades, pause intervention timelines for all schools, and provide the State Board of Education with emergency rulemaking authority to review and reestablish the state accountability system. The success and wellbeing of our students, educators, and schools are dependent upon these actions.”