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Why is State-Mandated Testing Implemented?

The State of Indiana administers regular testing to collect data on student performance. This data is used to develop education policies and programs that benefit students.

State mandated testing also helps uncover problem areas academically and address which sections need improvement. The purpose is to help policy makers keep track of the quality of education provided by the state.

If a particular school has a large number of underperforming students in these exams, administrators know that the institution may need assistance to improve the general quality of education.

In many ways, state mandated testing is a test of the system as well as the student. It allows state officials to keep an eye on the education systems and make sure they’re performing as well as possible.

What are Standardized State Mandated Testing in Indiana?

Indiana has implemented Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress-Plus, better known as ISTEP+. The state’s testing complies with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and is standardized accordingly, based on Indiana academic content. These tests begin in the 3rd grade and continue through the high school years.

ISTEP+ Tests are administered in the following years:

  • Students from 3rd to 8th grade in mathematics and English language arts
  • Science tests are administered to students in the 4th and the 6th grades
  • Social studies grades are administered to students in the 5th and the 7th grades

Indiana State also administers the End of Course Assessments (ECA) Exams for High school students. Like the ISTEP+, these tests are also standardized and based on Indiana academic systems. They’re administered for the following courses:

  • Algebra I and II
  • English 10 and 11

Changes

Over the years, the system has evolved to deliver the most efficient results. From 2008-09, the ISTEP+ examinations are held in the spring instead of the fall. In this year, the testing also added science for 4th and 6th grade students and social studies for 5th and 7th grade students.

In 2009-10, new Graduation Qualifying Exams consisted of ECA exams for Algebra I and English 10.

High School students must pass the English ECA and Algebra ECA along with earning all of the credits in order to earn their high school diplomas. More information can be found on the Indiana Department of Education website.

And beginning in 2016, incoming 10th graders will no longer be taking the ECA’s and will instead have the ISTEP 10+ be their graduation qualifying exam. These were piloted from 2014 into 2015 and will begin counting next year to ultimately replace the ECA exams. The ISTEP 10+ is more geared to evaluate a student’s college and career readiness level.

How Online Education Can Help With These Tests

The principal goal behind ISTEP+ is to test the fundamental skills of the students in various fields. At Achieve Virtual Academy, we focus on developing fundamental skills in reading, writing, math, science, language, etc. As students learn at a pace that’s comfortable for them, they gain a better grasp of the subject.

As everyone knows, if the foundation is solid, students will learn more difficult concepts better. And it is often the case that when students aren’t required to keep the same pace as their classmates, they can advance as quickly or as slowly as they wish.

Online education also encourages students to seek out advice and help from their teachers. There are no social repercussions for asking questions and admitting to not understanding something. Online learning is an ideal way to provide a well-rounded education – and enable students to perform well in standardized tests.

For more information, contact Achieve Virtual Academy today.

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