Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ending Public Education in Indiana

The state of Indiana has released information for the 2015 ISTEP testing program as reported in the Herald Times on January 31, 2015. The testing time will be 3 hours and 27 minutes longer, assess new content and new formats plus technology enhanced questions. This new testing process was apparently completed in the past year after Indiana decided not to be a part of the CCSS and the accompanying assessment pilot.  

There are several things the public needs to understand.  First and foremost the changes preclude any comparison to previous years. The increased time, the different format and the new content make it an entirely new test. Given that this is a new test it is important to wonder when the state validated the new test items and conducted the validity and reliability studies that demonstrates the test does what it is intended to do.  

The State of Indiana is subjecting the students in our schools to a test that fails to meet any of the standards of test development and interpretation of the data. This failure to meet generally accepted standards should be considered gross misconduct on the part of our state legislators.  Teachers and administrators should refuse to participate in this testing program, because it fails to meet testing standards as recommended by the American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association and the National Council on Measurement in Education.  Secondly, parents have a right to withhold their children from being subjected to unproven and inferior educational experiences. Students have the right not to have judgments made about their learning abilities at young ages with instruments that meet no standards.

Subjecting the citizens of the state to such ill-conceived and poorly planned experiences should be considered gross negligence and incompetence   Additionally, since this test is to be used to assess teacher quality the state leadership is obligated to show the data that proves test scores are a result of high quality effective teaching.

We are at a point where expressing our objection is insufficient. We need to take steps that send a message to our federal and state leadership that we have had enough of the mismanagement and abuse of our children's educational future.

This testing initiative is clearly not intended to improve the quality of the public education experience. The purpose of this new testing plan is designed to demonstrate how poorly our public schools are doing and promote the solution to move more of our children to private schools.  The legislators are failing to uphold their pledge to support the constitution of the State of Indiana.

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