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Record Number: 18766
Displayed from: Sep 05, 2019 , until: Nov 05, 2019


As the Indiana Department of Education releases aggregate ILEARN scores today, superintendents from East Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools address the results of the state’s newest standardized test. Schools and districts have been notified by the state that the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the newly-defined passing scores is considerably lower than previous years. ILEARN is the state-mandated test that replaced ISTEP.

“Our focus every day is the teaching and learning that takes place in each classroom in Fort Wayne Community Schools,” said Wendy Robinson, superintendent, Fort Wayne Community Schools. “We do not believe these test scores are an accurate reflection of our students’ successes or the hard work of our staff. Parents who want to fully understand where their child is currently academically and where they are headed, should talk to their child’s teachers. They are the experts.”

ILEARN represents the sixth time the state tests, the state standards tested on the state tests, or the company administering the state tests has changed since 2009, and the third change since 2015. Each change in the state test generates in a new state-defined passing score. Since 2009, each time the cut score has changed, the percentage of students passing the test has decreased.

“The lower scores do not reflect a lack of performance by our students, our teachers, or our schools,” said Chris Himsel, superintendent, Northwest Allen County Schools.

Prior to the public release of ILEARN results, Gov. Eric Holcomb, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick and others called for a “hold harmless” exemption to prevent schools and teachers from being penalized for the results.

“We would like to thank Gov. Holcomb for his support to hold harmless our hard working students, teachers and schools following the release of the ILEARN and I AM 2019 spring test results,” said Philip G. Downs, superintendent, Southwest Allen County Schools. “Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray also shared his support for hold harmless and added, ‘A strong accountability system is important for our students and schools, but we must be sure the system is fair.’ SACS could not agree more.”

The Superintendents said they are not interested in eliminating accountability, and each school district uses a variety of measures to determine student achievement.

“East Allen County Schools analyzes all student data,” said Marilyn Hissong, superintendent, East Allen County Schools. “We use multiple assessments to measure the growth of our students and ILEARN is one of the measures. We will continue to teach students and prepare them for their future whether it is college and career or other opportunities. While assessments are part of the educational process, so is educating the whole child and meeting his/her specific needs.”

The Superintendents agree that assessments of student data can be useful.

“We urge policymakers to stop the cycle of constant changes,” Dr. Himsel said. “Our students are uniquely talented. We need a system that allows each of their unique talents to be developed.”

The Superintendents seek dialogue with policymakers in developing assessments and accountability systems that help teachers nurture each student’s talents.

“We are eager to work with our area legislators to provide meaningful feedback and guidance to create a system that is accurate, transparent and fair for each of our girls, boys, educators, schools and their communities,” Dr. Downs said. “We [Allen County Superintendents] want to help.”

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.