NORTHEAST INDIANA (WPTA21) - Nearly 40 superintendents across northeast Indiana are asking the state's education secretary and other officials to reconsider ILEARN testing requirements this school year.
Last week, the US Department of Education told school leaders in each state that assessments during the pandemic are still federally required, but allowed states to apply for a waiver to extend the testing window.
COVID-19 restrictions have forced many schools across the country to figure out on-the-fly how to offer classes virtually. While many students and teachers have returned to the classroom, pandemic restrictions are still in place.
“Hoosier educators have worked relentlessly over the last year to continue providing quality instruction for all students despite the challenges resulting from the pandemic,” said Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said in a statement last week.
“It is more important now than ever that we capture a snapshot of student learning and progress to fully understand the impact of COVID-19, address educational inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and inform parents on how their children are doing. We are thankful for our partners at the U.S. Department of Education for their guidance on administering federally-required assessments this spring.”
Jenner also said she requested a waiver the Department of Education for calculating accountability determinations this year, and said her office is working with state legislators to ensure schools are held harmless for the test results by issuing a null grade for the current school year.
Some school leaders are asking state regulators to put a pause on ILEARN altogether.
"Many of the protocols put in place to keep schools operating interfere directly with the government and test vendor requirements for administering ILEARN assessment," 39 superintendents wrote to Indiana Education Secretary Katie Jenner, Gov. Eric Holcomb, State Rep. Todd Huston, and State Sen. Rodric Bray.
These school leaders said having students take these tests would pull them away from instruction during a time when their school year has already been greatly disrupted.
School leaders offered a solution: use local assessments and share that data with the state.
"ILERN is expensive and provides little to no value for teaches and families. Instead, please use the valuable data we are already gathering and using to measure each student's progress through our formative assessments," the letter reads.
You can read the full letter here:ILEARN-Letter.March-2021