Vigo County schools superintendent Rob Haworth is sending letters home to parents in an effort to ease potential concerns about ILEARN scores and also to echo calls for legislation so that 2018-19 scores don't adversely impact school grades or teacher evaluations.
He wrote, "There are significant problems with a test when statewide results show more than half of Indiana students passed in only 3 of 15 testable areas." Those three areas are Grade 3 math, Grade 4 math, and Grade 8 English/language arts.
State officials predicted scores would be low, and those test results were finally released Wednesday.
"By now, you have heard the news: statewide, ILEARN scores are low in the test’s first year," Haworth wrote in a letter that will go home to students who took the test this past spring. "State leaders are suggesting that the Indiana General Assembly hold schools harmless this year, meaning that school letter grades and teacher evaluations would not be impacted by ILEARN. We echo these calls."
The letter tries to put the scores in context, noting that "results only reflect a snapshot of your child's abilities ... no one test can accurately reflect your child's potential," Haworth wrote. "Classroom learning matters, and other assessments we do through the year matter."
He also stated that "a statewide dip in test scores does not reflect the excellent instruction happening in the Vigo County School Corp."
Teachers will use test data and other assessments given during the year to help prepare students for next year's test.
The district continues to be competitive in the Indiana Urban Schools Association, a collection of school corporations similar in size and demographics to VCSC, the superintendent stated. The district placed in the top three in 14 of the 15 tested areas when ILEARN scores were compared with those peer districts.
Bill Riley, VCSC director of communications, said letters will be sent home with children in grades 4-9 who took the test this past spring.
"We hear a lot about standardized tests and there is lot of emphasis on them at the federal and state level," Riley said. The letter is aimed at providing context to the test results and news about the low scores.
"Parents are probably rightfully concerned about their child's test scores," Riley said. "We wanted to make sure our parents know ILEARN is one test, a snapshot of one moment in time. The weight it bears isn't necessarily more important than classroom learning."
The superintendent "wanted to give parents a pep talk and highlight the positive. Hopefully, we can move on and get back to educating students," Riley said.