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Indiana Poised to Cut Length of State Test by Three Hours After Uproar


After a political maelstrom in Indiana earlier this year about the amount of time students would have to spend taking the state test, officials now have a plan on the table to cut the length of that exam by 25 percent.

The state education department told lawmakers on Sept. 8 that the next version of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) would take about nine hours. Legislators are expected to review that figure and other issues before releasing their own recommendations as to how the exam should be altered.

As I reported earlier this year, last February the department sent shock waves throughout the state when it announced that the 2014-15 ISTEP+ would take 12 hours for students to complete. In response to anger and confusion from various quarters, officials scrambled to hack away portions of the ISTEP+, such as the section on social studies, in order to shorten it just for the 2014-15 year. 

The ISTEP+ was given to about 450,000 students in grades 3-8 last year. Before replacing the Common Core State Standards with its own content standards in English/language arts and math in 2014, the state had been slated to give the PARCC exam to those students. 

The furor over the ISTEP+, which renewed the political battle between state Superintendent Glenda Ritz (D) and Gov. Mike Pence (R), preceded the state's decision to drop CTB/McGraw-Hill as its testing company in favor of Pearson Education last March. 

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