Letter to the Public
Washington County Residents:
As the superintendents of the three Washington County Schools, we would like to express our concern about the 2014-2015 ISTEP+ data that was released to schools. We believe that the data is NOT an accurate reflection of our students’ aptitude or accomplishments. It certainly does NOT represent the quality instruction that all three county schools provide.
The test scores, as predicted by the Department of Education, show a significant drop in student performance from the previous year. We believe that the test did not accurately measure the growth of our students or the academic achievement. We believe that the changes in the assessment and how it is being compared to past assessments create a false reality for our county and the entire state of Indiana.
As publicized, the vendor of the test has not been able to deliver the assessment digitally with any reliability. Additionally, the stark difference in multiple forms of the test have led educators across the state to question the validity of the results. These assessments created a stressful testing environment for those administering the test, but more importantly, anxiety in our children that had to perform on them.
Now, nearly eight months after taking the ISTEP+, we are provided with raw pass/fail information without supporting data on what areas students need improvement. We anticipate that the first semester will be complete by the time we receive any valuable data to utilize in directing instruction. Therefore, we have to question the data generated from the upcoming test because we have not had the appropriate data to drive instruction.
The impact of this data, that we believe to be invalid, is not limited to the individual student’s academic record. It has a negative impact on teacher evaluation, grant funding, and the school accountability grade. The impact on the image of the local community could be devastating.
We strongly believe that our schools are more than a letter grade and the results of an assessment. We believe that there is no greater responsibility than the education of our children, and we are NOT opposed to accountability. However, when our children and community are being judged and labeled in a flawed system, it is our duty to stand up for them.
The Indiana political landscape is having a negative impact on our public schools. We, along with educators across the state, believe the current system that evaluates the effectiveness of schools to be an attempt to implement a flawed legislative agenda. This agenda is detrimental to the children of Washington County, our educational system and our communities as a whole. Our children, educators and community deserve a better way of determining student proficiency. It’s time for a better way in Indiana.
Regardless of the final outcome of the 2014-2015 ISTEP+ assessment, remember this assessment was ONE measure, taken during ONE time, for ONE specific purpose. At all Washington County schools, student learning and success with grade or course level Indiana academic standards is measured in a variety of ways and through multiple measures throughout the whole school year.
Education of every child is the most important part of what we do at Washington County schools. We take that job seriously. Each and every year, dedicated teachers and staff work with our children to ensure they receive the BEST education possible at all three school districts.
Dr. D. Lynn Reed, Salem Community Schools Superintendent
Steve Darnell, East Washington Schools SuperintendentKeith A. Nance, West Washington School Corporation Superintendent
Welcome to West Washington School Corporation!