Our school districts, like others throughout the state, are working hard to best plan for this year’s ILEARN testing requirements.
During this unprecedented year, we have found this to be a daunting task. The current testing plan would divert much needed time, attention and resources away from critical student learning needs. It would also place an excessive burden on our virtual families, which this year make up approximately 10% of our population.
While school districts have responded flexibly to maximize learning and safety during this challenging time, ILEARN testing requirements remain completely unchanged.
The testing plan is unreasonable and unrealistic given the current operation of schools this year.
We request consideration be given to reducing or eliminating the current requirements to allow districts to meet the academic and safety needs of students and staff.
Please consider the following:
- Our districts are operating multiple learning models including in-person instruction and virtual instruction. Some of our more densely populated schools are also operating on hybrid models to maintain social distancing.
- Current health department guidelines and local variables require we remain on these models through at least the end of this school year.
- This means testing time must double to meet current ILEARN requirements. At a minimum, ILEARN will consume anywhere from 8-12 days in a year where student learning has already been greatly diminished.
- Factoring in additional time for makeup testing due to higher COVID absenteeism, we are not confident that ILEARN can even be completed during the testing window.
- Large numbers of virtual students have refused to come to school for NWEA testing, despite multiple invitations and implementation of aggressive safety measures. We believe that most virtual learners will not come in for ILEARN, jeopardizing our ability to meet federally required 95% participation.
- We are experiencing high absenteeism rates among licensed staff due to COVID and ILEARN administration greatly increases the number of staff needed. Due to staffing shortages, we believe we will be unable to administer ILEARN and meet even the most basic needs of operating our schools.
- For virtual students, additional testing factors must be considered including: transportation, food services, facility space for social distancing, health & safety, and equipment & supplies. With the current testing plan, we will not have space to accommodate all learners.
We call on state decision makers to reconsider the current ILEARN requirements. We must preserve desperately needed instructional time, student learning, and health and safety. We simply cannot administer a testing plan that does not account for the current world in which our schools are operating today.
Dr. Mike Beresford, Superintendent Carmel Clay Schools
Dr. Derek Arrowood, Superintendent Hamilton Heights Schools
Dr. Allen Bourff, Superintendent Hamilton Southeastern Schools
Dr. Beth Niedermeyer, Superintendent Noblesville Schools
Ms. Mary Roberson, Superintendent Sheridan Schools
Dr. Ryan Glaze, Superintendent Tipton Community Schools
Mr. Chris Baldwin, Interim Superintendent Westfield Washington Schools
Dr. Scott Robison, Superintendent Zionsville Community Schools