Leaders at Cathedral reflect on ISTEP testing

“12 hours of testing total” says Mr. Thomas

Madi Tran, Reporter

While most of the student body had a two hour delay, the sophomores were required to take the ISTEP test.

Passing ISTEP is mandatory to receive a diploma.

Vice principal for academics Mr. Dennis Thomas said, “The ISTEP test is a accountability test for the state.

“There’s not a lot of benefit for the students, except they need to pass it to get their diploma.”

College counselor Mrs. Anne Katz said, “ISTEP this year for sophomores is a graduation required test, so we’re mandated by the state of Indiana to administer it to all sophomores and you have to continue to take it until you pass it to graduate.”

The need to pass

This year is the first year where passing ISTEP is a graduation requirement.

“Last year the ECAs were the requirement,” Katz said.

ISTEP has a total of two sessions, one in March and one in April.

“The current ISTEP test is daunting. It has two large sessions, over 12 hours of testing total,” Thomas said.

The state requires sophomores to take the test for multiple reasons.

“(Sophomores taking the ISTEP) was a state decision. A lot of the times it’s the bare minimum of what we’d expect a high school student to do. It gives you options to retest the next two years to meet the requirements,” Thomas said.

Work to plan

Planning the ISTEP is a rigorous task, that involves numerous emails among other tasks.

“The sheer man hours are pretty significant. Guidance (counselors) help out with it. Dr. Greer helps with it. I’ve done work with it, so there’s quite a few individuals that are engaged in this activity,” Thomas said.

Katz said, “There’s a lot of logistics of figuring out who’s going to proctor what rooms, which kids are going to go where, getting all the paper tests in boxes and what Dr. Greer and I are doing right now is repacking the tests in bundles to send them back out.”

No new schedule effects

The new schedule barely affected the ISTEP sessions.

“It’s been a little more complicated this year because we don’t have every period every day, so last year everyone could get through the same test in one day and we have to spread things out now over two days to make sure all the classes are hit.

“(The schedule’s) made it a little more complicated, but nothing we haven’t been able to work around,” Katz said.

Thomas said, “We’re having to alter our schedule just to accommodate to all of the testing that the department of education’s required us to administer, so the new schedules had little to no affect positively or negatively on the testing.”

Thomas said the school’s test scores are excellent when compared to other schools.

The school’s grade

“Cathedral has received an A plus or A grade from the state of Indiana, so I’d say we are stellar in comparison to other department of education schools.”

In the future the required graduation test will most likely change.

“The state is probably changing the graduation test, so in a couple of years kids will be taking a different test. ISTEP won’t be around for too many more years,” Katz said.

While ISTEP is used as a graduation requirement, NWEA testing is used track students’ academic progress. “NWEA testing is used to create a more personalized learning experience,” Thomas said.