Pence Orders Scaled Back ISTEP Test

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO):  Governor Mike Pence has blocked an expansion of the ISTEP test.

Monday signed an executive order to that prevents the new test from taken effect. The test would add more than six or seven hours to the total exam time.

Depending on grade level, the full test would exceed 11 or 12 hours, up from about 5 hours for the 2014 test.

The executive order also calls for a review by a national assessment expert, those finds will be presented to the Indiana Department of Education.

Pence chided the state Department of Education for a “lack of transparency” and “dysfunction.”

State Education Department spokesman Daniel Altman says Pence last year called for “uncommonly high standards'' when the board of education drafted new state standards to replace the national Common Core standards.

Altman says Indiana's new ISTEP+ test is more rigorous as a result of the state's tougher standards and therefore it takes more time for students to complete it.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) sides with the governor.

In a statement he said, “I fully support Gov. Pence’s actions today to seek a solution to the ISTEP+ testing problems that have come to light in recent days. Doubling the amount of time needed to administer the spring assessments is unacceptable for our kids and our schools. We must find a way to shorten the test in a manner that maintains our school accountability system and best serves Hoosier students.

“It is inconceivable that the Indiana Department of Education has allowed the situation to get to this point without making other stakeholders, including the members of the State Board of Education, aware of the concerns involved.

If the Board had been included in these discussions, we might have been able to avoid this situation. However, it appears that the Board of Education has been shut out of the process.

As a result, our A-F accountability system has been put at risk, and our children are facing hours of additional testing. Today’s emergency actions by the Governor are necessary and appropriate.”