ISTEP Pressures Intensify: FWEA Official

By WISE Web News

March 23, 2011 Updated Mar 23, 2011 at 5:34 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A Fort Wayne teacher's union official says Governor Mitch Daniel’s plan to see teacher evaluations tied more closely to student ISTEP "Plus" results is creating overwhelming pressures on the system.

The subject is timely right now, given that just last week, one Allen County public school corporation announced it's investigating whether a teacher violated ISTEP protocol, to help her students score higher on the exam.

The Summit Middle School Teacher, who hasn’t been named, is suspended with pay as Southwest Allen Schools officials look into whether she inappropriately gave her 7th grade students insight ahead of time into what questions would be asked on the social studies portion of a recent ISTEP test.

As teachers are expected more and more to boost the ISTEP scores of their pupils, Steve Brace with the Fort Wayne Education Association concedes there may well be a greater temptation to cheat.

Steve Brace/Ft. Wayne Education Assn.: " Yes, there is a lot of pressure on everybody. At the same time, there are 70,000 teachers in Indiana, and when you do hear of an allegation like this, it's very infrequent. So, I think teachers are very professional, and I think there are a lot of safeguards. For instance, in Fort Wayne, you don't even see the test until it's time to give it."

Brace argues that it's irrational to force special-ed students and those who can't speak English well, to take the test and expect them to get passing grades.

He says if those groups were no longer required to meet prescribed standards on the exam, it would restore some sanity to the ISTEP process.

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