My parents have received their child’s ISTEP results in the past week and before I get sent the information by the district there are a couple things I need to get off my chest.

1.  I make no effort, at any level, to prepare my students for the ISTEP test.  Okay, I said it; it is written in the ‘verse, “nothing can stop the signal Mal”.  Before the “accountability police” send the black helicopters and brand me a “brown coat”  Wow, two Firefly references in one paragraph. I have my reasons.

2.  After serving on two Indiana DOE ISTEP committees to try and improve the test, I reached the conclusion that the test was too wide and contained no depth.  Therefore in the end, the test measures nothing of importance and only takes time away from teaching what is really important.

3.  In reality, the test serves no purpose.  It is impossible to measure growth since it is a test in isolation; meaning that there is nothing to compare the data.  Therefore, there is no way to know if any number is good or bad.  If a student gets a pass-plus, it could mean an improvement or a regression.   The only purpose the SS test serves is to transfer money that should go to the schools to a for profit company and those in government that except the company’s graft.

4.  Honestly, if my kids pass at an 80% that would be about what I would expect.  In fact, I would be leery of any school that scores too high on the SS ISTEP, because that means they spend too much time on things on things with no long-term value and too little time on what should be the taught.  I choose to focus on analysis and thinking; and building within my students curiosity and confidence to take on tough tasks.

5.  I am confident that the best measurement of my student’s learning is still the grade that they received in my class.