The Great I-STEP Debate

I-STEP testing is underway in schools across Indiana.

The tests are designed to measure scholastic achievements I-STEP test all year long, but there has been some debate about whether the state should move testing to the end of the year to test what the students learned. But testing in the fall serves another and hopefully more beneficial purpose.

The halls of Newburgh Elementary are quiet Monday as students here and across Indiana are hard at work, inside their classrooms, taking this year's I-STEP tests.

Principal Rick Reid, Newburgh Elementary, explains "Everyone does test prep all year long - one form or another. What we try to do is expose kids to the kinds of questions they're going to see in the format that they're going to see them in."

Students are given the standardized test at the beginning of the school year, but the state legislature has been thinking of changing that to the spring. But the director of testing for the EVSC, Susan McDowell Riley, says there are benefits to having the I-STEP in the fall.

"It's helpful because teachers get the results back that year, so that while they still have the students, they know how the students have done, and they can use that information to remediate students' weaknesses," says Riley.

The test is also used to measure achievement for the federal 'No Child Left Behind Act' and a school's eligibility for other state programs.

Riley continues, "How students do on I-STEP depends - would dictate how much remediation funds are available. So that the school, that has students that aren't doing so well, would get money to remediate those students."

Riley encourages parents to make sure their kids get plenty of sleep this week and don't put too much pressure on the kids, but tell them to try and do their very best.

The results from the tests will come back in early December. Newburgh principal Rick Reid says he is confident his students will do well as they have in years past.