I-STEP testing kicks off Monday

Teachers, parents, and students worry that the new reading test could hold back 3rd-graders. At schools like IPS Ernie Pyle Elementary School, they have preparing since August.

Indianapolis

I-STEP testing began Monday at many area grade and middle schools with some big changes.

Teachers, parents, and students worry that the new reading test could hold back 3rd-graders.  At schools like IPS Ernie Pyle Elementary School, they have preparing since August.

“It’s like muscle memory,” said teacher Margaret Silk. “If you practice enough, it’s almost like I can do this I see it. I see the patterns of each problem and I can figure this out.”

Students in 3rd grade to 8th grade take the test. All students are tested in reading and math. Science is also tested in grades 4 and 6. Social studies knowledge is tested in grades 5 and 7. 

“It's especially important at the 3rd-grade level to make sure they are adequately prepared to move on to the challenges of the next grade level,” said Principal Mark Pugh.

Pugh said kids hit a hump betwe4n 3rd and 4th grade emotionally, behaviorally and academically. With that in mind, I-STEP is a little different this year. I-READ has been added for 3rd graders.

 “Sometimes it’s a determining factor on whether the child goes onto the next grade level or not,” said Silk. “It's not the only the only factor, but one we take a look at but it is one of those that we take a look at and see wise where children are,” said Silk.

An Indiana state law passed in 2010 requires evaluations of 3rd-grade reading skills. Students who do not pass the test well be held back.

Principals like Pugh said it is an important test.

“I think its paramount importance that our kids can read I don't think anyone in the field of education or parents as well would ever dispute that,” said Pugh.

High school students no longer take I-STEP, but they are required to pass assessments in English, Algebra and Biology. 
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