INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WDRB) -- Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick on Wednesday asked lawmakers to provide some relief for school districts that struggled on a new standardized assessment for third- through eighth-grade students last year.
During a news conference Wednesday, McCormick urged Indiana legislators to hold school districts harmless and pause intervention efforts based on ILEARN test results for the 2018-19 school year.
She's also seeking emergency rulemaking authority for the Indiana State Board of Education to review and tweak the state's accountability system, which gives districts and schools "A" through "F" grades based on testing results and other factors.
McCormick joins Gov. Eric Holcomb in asking for relief for Indiana's schools and teachers based on the results of ILEARN, which replaced ISTEP last school year.
In a statement Monday, Holcomb asked that the General Assembly also hold schools harmless so scores won't impact teacher evaluations and letter grades under the state's accountability system, according to media reports.
ILEARN results won't be publicly released until the state school board meets Sept. 4, but districts and many families have already begun poring through their scores.
McCormick signaled Wednesday that the public should brace for lower assessment scores. ILEARN "was much more rigorous this year compared to in the past," she said, noting that Indiana schools saw declines as the state transitioned to the ISTEP test.
"We know there's going to be a dip," McCormick said. "… Our goal is to just make sure that parents, educators and students have a lens and something to work from in order to continue to improve their students' performance and growth."
McCormick says she's unsure whether lawmakers will honor her request.
"Obviously I don't want to speak for them," she said. "I think they are having conversations about if they are going to go that way how they will approach it."
Indiana spent $10 million to implement ILEARN, which is completely online and changes in difficulty based on students' answers, McCormick said.
Taking a different approach to analyzing and using data surrounding student performance will be based on the will of state leaders, she said. For instance, McCormick says she doesn't want to see teacher evaluations based partly on testing results.
"I think you're seeing a movement across the nation to be better stewards of that money and look at assessment a little differently, but Indiana is very much where we were even still five years ago with the mindset of that punitive piece of assessment," she said.
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