A Solution for the Strange ISTEP Schedule

Elizabeth Allen, Staff Writer

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Anyone who has attended an Indiana school from 1987 to 2019 may be familiar with the state-mandated test, ISTEP. ISTEP tests children and teenagers over english, math, science, and history (some depending on grade level or classes taken). 

In many schools, ISTEP disrupts schedules for non test takers. It is no different at BHSS, with the result being a confusing schedule and inconsistent times for class periods. Even before testing days, class periods are taken up by review and students are assigned to panther pluses just to learn how to do the test. 

While ISTEP has many criticisms, including teaching focus on the test, schools receiving funding based on scores, and students feeling unmotivated to explore material, ISTEP’s disruption to the schedule is on everyone’s minds. 

Many students and teachers are frustrated with the strange schedule, and wonder what solutions could be introduced so that non test takers don’t have to fret about schedule changes. This potential solution is something that many students hope for anyway–a day off. 

Giving non test takers the day off, and having the test takers come into school as normal would allow test takers to finish their exams in a day or two, and there would be plenty of classrooms or computer labs available for the test. 

While it might seem unfair for test takers to not get time off, when they enter a grade where they are not taking ISTEP, they will get their own time off, and things will even out, and if a student misses a testing day (willingly or not), they could still be allowed time for the test later on in the week

With this change, the schedule would stop being strange, and teachers and students would no longer worry about that aspect of ISTEP testing. 

While standardized testing still has many other criticisms in general, allowing test takers to complete their testing within only a couple days could allow more time for teaching and learning things that aren’t test-focused. 

A simple change such as this one may open up more opportunities for changes within standardized testing in Indiana.