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Students Start Taking The State’s New ILEARN Test Next Week. So What’s New?

By Jeanie Lindsay, IPB News | Published on in Education, Government, Statewide News, Technology
(Bartmoni/Wikimedia Commons)
(Bartmoni/Wikimedia Commons)

Students start taking Indiana’s new standardized test this month, and officials say the exam should provide better data to teachers and schools about student performance. ILEARN is the new replacement for the ISTEP, and elementary, middle and some high school students will start taking ILEARN as early as next week.

It’s “computer adaptive,” meaning the test adjusts the questions it asks students based on their previous answers.

Spokesman for the State Department of Education Adam Baker says overall, ILEARN will provide better data for teachers and schools, sooner.

“As the test adapts to their performance, it will give a better of idea how the student is doing,” Baker says.

The new test isn’t timed either, a change Baker says will ease the pressure on students. Students can take more time to consider their answers, but he says because of the adaptive questions, students will spend less time answering the same kinds of questions.

Baker says ILEARN is the best version of the state’s standardized test so far for three main reasons. He says hundreds of teachers helped make the test, students will spend less time testing, and the information about student performance will be more personalized.

Schools will have ILEARN results in August. But next year, Baker says schools will have ILEARN results in as little as two weeks after students finish testing. He says the ability to make changes to the exam itself each year is another crucial component.

“There’s not only adaptability in giving the assessment – there’s adaptability in the test as we move along,” he says. “Changes that may come out of this first iteration that need to be made are going to happen a lot quicker and a lot sooner and a lot easier than under ISTEP.”

The ILEARN testing window opens April 22.