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Indiana Considers Moving 3rd Grade Reading Test to 2nd Grade

Amid the debate about paring back standardized testing, Indiana is floating an unusual proposal. It would shift the state's required 3rd grade reading test to a group of students who currently don't have to take state-mandated tests: 2nd graders.

According to Chalkbeat Indiana, that's the idea of a bill now under consideration in the state senate. Senate Bill 169 targets the testing schedule of 3rd graders. Each March, they take the IREAD-3, which they must pass—or take remedial lessons—in order to be promoted to 4th grade. In March and April, they also take the ISTEP, Indiana's tests in English/language arts and reading during the spring.

Sen. Erin Houchin, the Republican lawmaker who authored the bill, said she got the idea from teachers.

"It was suggested to me from a group of teachers that if we move IREAD from 3rd grade to 2nd grade, we would free up valuable instruction time for 3rd graders, identify reading deficiencies early and allow more time for remediation," she said, according to Chalkbeat.

The state teachers' union isn't a fan of the proposal. Its president, Teresa Meredith, told Chalkbeat that IREAD isn't a test that's helpful to teachers to begin with, and moving it to 2nd grade won't change that. Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz opposes the use of high-stakes tests in 2nd grade, her lobbyist told Chalkbeat.

About 85 percent of the state's 3rd graders passed the IREAD in 2014.

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