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Oak Hill looking ahead to ILEARN

BY Abigail Roberts - ctreport@indy.rr.com

Starting spring 2019, ILEARN will take the place of ISTEP for Indiana third through eighth graders. By 2022, ILEARN will also have replaced ISTEP for high school students.

“All students currently in eighth grade will not have to take the ISTEP in 10th grade,” said Roger Spaulding, Oak Hill counselor. “However, current ninth graders will continue in the ISTEP process until graduation.”

ISTEP is being phased out across the state after three decades of testing.

The entire ILEARN test will be taken online, in comparison to the previously written essay and short answer questions of the ISTEP. As the student takes the test, the computer will adapt the test to their proficiency level, making it easier or harder depending on their previous answers. Also, while ISTEP was given in two parts over the course of several weeks, ILEARN will be given in a single testing window.

“This will be a new year for all of us,” said Valeree Kinch, director of curriculum instruction and assessment. “We’ll see what the results bring in. It’s a whole different assessment.”

In this year’s ISTEP results, Oak Hill's corporation passing rates for English Language Arts ranked highest in the county at 66.3 percent, a jump from last year’s 64.4 percent.

As a corporation, a smaller percentage passed the math test, 47.1 percent, a drop from last year where over half of students passed the test.

“Scores across the state were lower for math,” said Shawn Means, Oak Hill High School principal. “... We are revisiting the curriculum and doing some new mapping to see if we’re missing anything anywhere.”

However, Means said Oak Hill is doing what it can knowing that the game changes next spring with the introduction of ISTEP.

“As we are looking forward to ILEARN we are digging in and trying to learn all we can about it,” Kinch said. “We are looking forward to the great resources the state has rolled out for us and seeing if that assessment aligns more with the state standard.”

Means said although Oak Hill is never satisfied until reaching 100 percent across the board, he is proud of this year’s high language arts scores and the opportunity to see some improvement in math for next year.