Thursday, March 24, 2016
Samantha Hart
Press Secretary
(317) 232-0550

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz released her spring video message for Hoosier families today. This is the third quarterly message of the 2015-16 school year. Today’s message provides families with resources and information on the 2016 ISTEP+ assessment as well as literacy resources for students to use at school and at home.

Text of the Superintendent’s remarks can be found below:

“Spring is upon us and that brings ISTEP+ testing to our classrooms. As a 34-year veteran classroom teacher, I know the stress that can occur with testing. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and a good meal to prepare for this test.

“In addition, if you have questions, please visit the Department of Education’s website to review item samplers, parent resources and ISTEP+ Experience Online to become familiar with the online platform used for ISTEP+. I know this time of year can be challenging, but I am committed to ensuring that you and your child’s teacher have the supports needed to provide students with a smooth and positive testing experience.

“Last year’s ISTEP+ results established a new baseline for our students’ progress towards college and career ready benchmarks, and I want to thank you, our students, and our educators for the hard work during such a challenging school year. I look forward to seeing student growth towards these new, more rigorous benchmarks moving forward.

“For years, I have said that Indiana needs to get rid of ISTEP+ and move to a streamlined assessment system. I am happy to share with you that the Legislature listened to the recommendations of the Department, educators and parents across the state to pass legislation that allows for the development of a new assessment system to replace ISTEP+ after the 2016-17 school year. I am excited for the opportunity to create a new student-centered assessment that more accurately reflects student performance and student growth throughout the school year.

“Student assessments should be given to gauge student performance and growth and improve and individualize instruction. Instead, in its current form, ISTEP+ has become an assessment focused on evaluating our teachers and grading our schools. That is why I will continue to work with state policy makers to remove the high-stakes associated with the ISTEP+ assessment and allow teachers to get back to teaching instead of testing.

“I am also excited to announce that students have already met and far exceeded my goal of reading two hundred thousand books before December 2016 to celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial! In only two and a half months, students read more than three hundred and fifty thousand books using the MyON Reader Digital Library. That is why I am increasing our goal. Before December 2016, I am challenging our students to read one million books! I encourage you to participate in this fun, literacy challenge at home. You can access the MyON Digital Library through the Hoosier Family of Readers website.

“I encourage you to follow the Department’s Facebook and Twitter pages for updates as well as the new INschool mobile app where you can get notifications regarding my next video messages and much more. Have a great rest of the school year.”