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Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP+)

Indiana currently uses criterion-referenced assessments, such as the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress (ISTEP+) and Core 40 end-of-course assessments, to evaluate students’ academic progress toward mastery of appropriate knowledge and skills. These assessment tools are aligned to the Indiana Academic Standards. Instruction in Indiana classrooms should be aligned with these same standards to help students demonstrate mastery. Test results should reflect the level of success achieved toward mastery of grade specific knowledge.

ISTEP+ utilizes two testing methods: one which tests basic skills through multiple choice questions and one which tests applied skills using short answer or essay questions and arithmetic or mathematical problems. All questions are appropriate for the designated grade level tested and should be aligned to what is being taught in the classroom.

In 2004, for the first time, ISTEP+ was administered to students in Grades 3 through 10 in English/language arts and mathematics. ISTEP+ results for students in Grades 4, 5, 7, 9, and 10 (the NEW Graduation Qualifying Exam {GQE}) will count for the first time. Students in Grade 5 also took a science test. Aligned to Indiana’s more rigorous academic standards, the new GQE tests English skills through Grade 9 and mathematics skills through Grade 8 and Algebra I.

The Core 40 end-of-course assessments test students’ knowledge and skills after taking specific Core 40 courses. They are aligned with Indiana’s Academic Standards adopted by the 2000-01 Indiana State Board of Education (State Board) in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.

As reflected in Indiana’s new school accountability system, the State Board of Education has included selected Core 40 end-of-course assessments as primary indicators of high school improvement and performance as established by Public Law 221-1999 (P.L. 221).

Required end-of-course assessments are tests that every school will administer each year to every student enrolled in certain Core 40 courses. These assessments will be required beginning in 2004. The Core 40 end-of-course assessments are designed to measure student achievement of Indiana’s Academic Standards and schools’ alignment of curriculum choices and instructional practices to the standards. Schools are required to report end-of-course assessment data as well as the percentage of students completing Core 40 and the Academic Honors Diploma curricula on the Annual School Performance Report. At least six Core 40 courses are being considered as required assessments. Developing the capacity for statewide administration and grading will take several years, with two new end-of-course tests ready each spring for statewide piloting. To simplify test administration, pilot testing will occur only in the spring (April – June). These required end-of-course assessments will be phased in over the next five years.

Merit’s Language Arts and math software programs correlate to the Indiana Academic Standards and can help students prepare for the ISTEP+ and Core 40 end-of-course assessments. The content and format of Merit’s programs can help students develop and strengthen their test-taking skills as well as their reading, writing and math skills.

Merit reading software has been proven -- through rigorous, scientifically based research -- to increase both student reading comprehension and standardized test scores. Merit research study findings reveal that education software is an effective tool to improve test scores and academic performance.

Published: May 2005

Merit Software's programs address the specific areas covered on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress.

Visit our Curriculum Correlations for Indiana.

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