Ritz Discusses ISTEP Scores with N.J.-S.P. Officials


ISTEP scores across the state are expected to plummet due to changes in the test. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz discussed the anticipated drop with North Judson-San Pierre officials during a Friday visit to the elementary school.

She says language arts scores statewide will be down 16 percent, and math scores will be 21 percent lower than the previous year. The lower scores will reflect negatively on school rankings unless state lawmakers take action. Ritz says the federal government has already given the state permission to freeze the scores.

“We have to take advantage of that, though,” Ritz said. “en to the governor twice now, saying this is what we should be doing. We shouldn’t be impacting the economy of our local communities with a false impression of the schools.”

Ritz notes Pence has been rather vague as to what should be done about test scores. She notes any decisions will be made by the general assembly. Options approved by the U.S. Department of Education include either freezing scores or what Ritz calls a “hold harmless” approach. It would allow schools to choose between their 2013-14 or 2014-15 ISTEP scores, whichever ones are better.

Ritz says whatever the legislature decides, schools and students should not be penalized due to the transition between tests.

“When you see that kind of big drop in performance, it doesn’t mean that our schools are performing less. It simply means we gave a more rigorous assessment, and we should be giving flexibility for that.”

State officials are still awaiting the release of last year’s ISTEP scores. It’s been delayed due to problems grading the test.