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Less than half of HCCSC students pass ILEARN

by James Ehle - jehle@h-ponline.com

Less than half of HCSSC students who took the new Indiana state standardized ILEARN exam were considered proficient, according to results released Wednesday.

Only 46 percent of the 2,292 HCCSC students tested for English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency were considered “proficient” according to 2019 ILEARN Grade 3-8 Corporation Results from the Indiana Department of Education (DOE).

HCCSC director of curriculum Jay Peters, stated in a press release that the low proficiency percentages across the district align with the drop in proficiency percentages seen across the state.

Less than half of Indiana students in grades 3-8 were considered proficient in ILEARN’s ELA standards. The statewide rate of ELA proficiency was 47.9 percent, according to results from Indiana DOE.

The ILEARN assessment is in compliance with the federal ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) requirements and is focused on the College and Career Readiness standards of students from elementary to high school.

In a letter from Dr. Jennifer McCormick, State Superintendent of Instruction, a legislative action would propose to “place a ‘hold harmless’ year on 2018-2019 letter grades,” which would ensure schools are not held responsible for the poor test scores since standardized test scores determine funding levels.

Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Readiness Network (ILEARN) was established in 2017 as a replacement for the ISTEP+ test.

“While the 2019 ILEARN results do not provide a true reflection of the performance of Indiana’s schools, they do once again show us the importance of developing a modernized state legislated accountability system that is fair, accurate, and transparent,” said McCormick.

“It should be noted that our teachers continue to work hard to deliver high quality instruction and are focused on educating all of our students to high standards each and every day, even though the cut score was lower,” said Peters.

Peters said students are continuing to work hard and are engaged in accessing their own learning. He says HCCSC is focusing on developing the unique talents of each child.

Teachers and administrators are going over ILEARN data to identify areas which students scored poorly in an attempt to provide remediation and interventions to support student success.

Performance dips were previously experienced in the 2014-2015 school year with the newly implemented ISTEP+ assessment across the state.

District-wide, Riverview school had the highest rate of proficiency - 55.9 percent - while Horace Mann Elementary ranked lowest with only 33.9 percent of students meeting ELA standards. Fourth graders were the lowest ranking within the district with a 39.2 percent proficiency rate.

“We have to remind ourselves that ILEARN is only one assessment given to our students and that teachers are using other multiple measures, both formal and informal, throughout the year to monitor student progress,” Peters said.

He says teachers will inform their classroom and push students toward mastery of each grade level’s set of standards.

HCCSC sent ILEARN test results this week. Parents received a copy of their child’s test results for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science (for grades 4 and 6) and Social Studies (for grade 5 only).

Included with the results is a letter from Dr. Jennifer McCormick, State Superintendent of Instruction, with guidelines on how to read their child’s ILEARN results.

“We encourage parents to review the results with their child and if they have additional questions to please contact their child’s building principal,” Peters said.