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Ask the HiLite: Why are students taking ISTEP in high school now and what are the details involved in testing this year?

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Brad Sever, assistant principal and school test administrator answers questions about the effectiveness of ISTEP

Q: How effective would you say is the ISTEP at evaluating students’ academic abilities?

A: I think that it’s good to have some sort of a common measurement for students, but I think it’s important that it’s viewed as a snapshot of a student’s ability. I think it’s good in terms of looking at students’ academic achievement to look a more balanced student profile, so how well students do on their exams in their individual courses, how students are participating in class activities such as discussions and presentations and projects.

Q: If you were in the position to do so, what changes would you make to the ISTEP test?

A:  I believe in more of an assessment that would measure individual student growth, so for example, I think it’s really interesting what the College Board is doing with the PSAT because now there’s a PSAT 8/9, a PSAT and many students take the SAT and now those assessments are vertically articulated so a student can get the results back from their SAT and see sort of how they’ve grown since their freshman year. In terms of standardized testing, that’s a really good measurement that you are comparing the student to the student, not the student to another student necessarily.


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