Superintendent of Perry Township Schools
There is a lingering question in Indiana that has yet to be sufficiently answered. In fact, if someone could answer this question, they could write a book and make a lot of money. The search is underway to find a method to objectively measure the progress that a school experiences from year to year.
The question is: How do you measure academic gains from year to year when the variables change annually?
Not only does the student population change dramatically, but our children arrive on our door steps with various life challenges. We don’t produce a product; our goal is to provide an academic foundation that every child can realize their dreams. Measuring success during a student’s senior year is a huge challenge.
A few weeks ago I mentioned that there were several issues with this year’s ISTEP+ testing procedures and that numbers were expected to be low across the board. Preliminary results indicate that to be true. We are thankful that the governor’s office and the state superintendent of public instruction have acknowledged that the testing process was flawed to the point that it created false results about our children’s ability to recall what they have learned.
The method that is used to measure academic progress compares test scores from each child each year to measure growth. We adopted a new test this year, and many people report that the results simply cannot be accurately compared.
If you cannot compare growth data, then you certainly cannot compare final test results. There is a movement from our legislators to not penalize districts based on the preliminary data from the test. The individuals who represent Perry Township understand our challenges and are extremely supportive of our schools.
We are waiting for the results from tests that were administered last spring. Regardless of what is reported, I continue to stand on my belief that the person who truly knows about the progress being made is the child’s teacher. The preliminary test results, which just arrived, are embargoed for an unknown period of time.
As I mentioned in a letter to the parents about the controversial testing practices, in the final analysis the success of a child in life will not be determined by a series of tests. If you truly want to know the level of achievement of a particular child, simply ask his or her teacher. Our teachers know their children and are dedicated to meeting their needs.
We are hopeful that Superintendent Glenda Ritz, Gov. Mike Pence and our legislators will find a solution to this problem, which provides ratings to schools and districts that are simply not true.
Perry Township Schools continues to provide quality educational experiences for every student that enters the school doors. I trust those individuals who are in power will treat our schools throughout the state with fairness and equity.