It’s not that the three LaGrange County public school districts were worried about their students doing well on the state’s IREAD test given recently to all 3rd graders. It’s just that school officials wonder why it had to be given at all.
All three districts fared well in the test, given in March to all 3rd graders to gauge student reading levels. Under a state regulation from the Department of Education, any students who did not pass, or were not exempt, would have to retake the test early this summer. Students who did not pass that test would be retained in the third grade for next year.
Lakeland Schools posted an 84 percent passing rate for all students. With the removal of students who may qualify for exemptions, the school district had 94 percent passing.
PrairieHeightshad 86 percent passing overall. The school had 90.4 percent passing when the exempted student results are pulled out. Prairie Heights reported that three students achieved perfect scores.
Westview had 90 percent passing overall. With the exempted student results removed, the school district had two 3rd graders who will need to retake the test this summer.
“This was a complete waste of taxpayer money and was redundant with ISTEP,” commented Westview Superintendent Randy Zimmerly. “This was purely politically motivated and had no educational value.”
Zimmerly questioned why the state felt the need to implement something that only served to identify a small number of students who did not pass. “We knew who would pass or fail,” Zimmerly said. The students that will retake the test were already identified by the school and have been receiving additional support.
“How is it helpful to spend millions to find out what we know?” Zimmerly asked. Locally, the physical costs were minimal, but Zimmerly pointed out the test took a full hour of instructional time out, in additional to the time spent in the buildup to the test.
Prairie Heights Superintendent Alan Middleton added that the costly test put the students through a lot of unneeded pressure. “It put them through a lot of worry, apprehension, anxiety,” Middleton stated.
Zimmerly called on the state legislators to remove the test. “It’s a shame that education has become a political ploy,” Zimmerly said.