ILEARN set to replace ISTEP


Photo used with permission of Tribune News Service/

A test taker bubbles in her answer sheet, which has become antiquated at the rise of digital state standardized testing.

Katie Wiseman, Reporter

ISTEP week begins on Monday and word is traveling through the halls about the new alternative standardized test for students next year: ILEARN. The new alternative offers students a similar testing experience to ISTEP but in a shorter amount of time.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, ISTEP+ is an assessment that measures student achievement in both English/language arts and math beginning in Grade 10.

“ILEARN is a different platform that is responsive to student answers, very similar to NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association),” Assistant Principal Chrissie Sturgill said. “I appreciate this format and the software that is utilized.”

NWEA is the name of the organization that put together the Measures of Academic Progress (MAPS) test, however, it is often referred to as NWEA. NWEA is known for their interactive and in-depth analytics of their test results that are aimed to assist educators in helping their students grow.

According to the Indiana Department of Education, ILEARN measures student achievement and growth according to Indiana Academic Standards. ILEARN is the summative accountability assessment for Indiana students and assesses English/language arts for grades 3-8, math for grades 3-8, science for grades 4 and 6, social studies for grade 5, biology for high school students and U.S. government which is an optional test high school students can take.

The test is supposed to take a shorter amount of time than ISTEP by almost one to two hours. Sophomore Maddie Washburn believes that a shorter testing time may help students feel less intimidated by the test.

“If it’s shorter, fewer people would dislike ISTEP as much as students do now,” Washburn said. “[ISTEP] can also be annoying because sometimes there are questions asked that you haven’t learned yet.”

ILEARN is a summative assessment that measures both achievement and growth whereas ISTEP only tests for achievement. ILEARN may provide more questions that students feel confident answering since the questions are designed for all Indiana learners and are less focused on specific Indiana State Standards.

Underclassmen can expect to see ILEARN take the place of ISTEP in the future, however, this year biology students will still take the biology ISTEP, and the sophomores will take the math and English portions of the test.