Superintendent of Perry Township Schools
I recently sent a letter to the parents and guardians of our students about the impending release of achievement test scores. I believe it is important for everyone to have an understanding of our schools and how our students are performing. We understand that strong, productive schools reflect a strong and productive community.
The concern is that the letter grade, which reflects the preliminary 2015 ISTEP test results, will be released from the Indiana Department of Education in the near future. Our school administrators are expressing concern, frustration and disappointment over the preliminary results.
We know that our parents, teachers, community members and business leaders have high expectations for our students. They expect our children to behave and produce quality work. The department predicts that achievement test scores across the state will drop 20 to 30 percent depending on the content area. The score that our children will receive has been influenced by several factors, including:
• The test was administered in two different formats, either paper/pencil or online.
• The test was administered in either Form 1 or 2.
• The extreme length of the testing for each subject area and grade level.
• Numerous technology glitches on the state’s part resulted in frustration and delays for students.
• Unfamiliar structure of questions, including: questions in which students must identify all correct answers,
questions that required proficient use of online technology tools, questions that required comparing two samples of text, and a test dependent upon keyboarding skills.
The department, along with Gov. Mike Pence, has acknowledged that our students, teachers and schools should not be penalized by the anticipated decline in scores for this transitional year. We support this stance and encourage our legislative representatives to support this viewpoint.
Perry Township embraces high expectations for student achievement, accurate reporting of student data and public acknowledgement of the success, as well as the areas of improvement that we need to address in a culture of continuous improvement.
I visit our schools daily and observe teachers who are masterful in their abilities to deliver instructional lessons that capture the interest and imagination of the children placed under their care. All staff members are focused on meeting the needs of our children. That is our commitment.
How can you help? Continue to provide support and guidance to our students and school district and be involved. If you have questions, call and ask.
Your school district achieved an A rating last year, and we continue to improve and grow. I appreciate the fact that Pence and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz have publically questioned the validity of these tests, especially the first year they were administered.
Our rigorous curriculum and our quality of instructional programs continue to grow each year. We are a great school system on the path to excellence.