Perry Township Schools
As I write this, the majority of our children are immersed in taking achievement tests called ISTEP+. The statewide ISTEP+ window for Grades 3-8 opened April 28 and will close May 13. This portion of the test involves multiple-choice questions. Prior to this part of the exam, the students were administered writing prompts, open-ended questions and show-your-work math problems.
In Perry Township Schools, 6,350 students are taking the computerized version. All of these children are taking the ISTEP+ language arts and math assessments. The science test is administered to Grades 4 and 6, with the social studies assessment given to fifth- and seventh-graders.
A great deal of preparation is conducted by students, staff and parents before testing. There has been frequent communication to parents through emails, phone messages, website/social media postings and newsletters.
Basic everyday healthy habits are always emphasized. We all know that a well-rested mind and a hearty breakfast is a practice for doing well on any task. Arriving to school on time allows the student to mentally prepare for taking the test. Taking ISTEP+ can be stressful. A warm smile and supportive words from home sets the tone for a can-do approach.
Many activities were conducted in the schools to motivate our students before the testing. Local celebrities such as Boomer, the Pacers’ Mascot, and Jack Doyle of the Indianapolis Colts provided advice and tips for doing well on the test. These promotions keep spirits up and worries down!
The move to computerized testing has been accompanied with some frustration. Last year there were many problems associated with online testing because the technology was not ready for such an enormous task. This year, thus far, we have experienced few problems across the district.
Our testing program is going well due to a combination of factors. For example, our staff is staggering the test by administering the test to individual grade levels at different times throughout the school day.
Our students now understand how to log in to the test. Our administrators, computer technicians and proctors also maintain contact with one another online through a software program called TodaysMeet. Comments, questions and feedback are shared to quickly identify issues and solve problems.
Matt Willey, chief technology officer for the district, summarized the district’s testing experience quite well, “Our staff is doing an outstanding job of making sure the testing process is working smoothly for our students.”
Thank you parents and staff for all you do to support and prepare our students to be successful in school.