INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers will take a look at the impact of standardized testing on students and schools this summer, thanks to work done by Rep. Melanie Wright, D-Yorktown.
Topics for the Indiana General Assembly's interim study committees were announced last week, and one of them will examine the state's testing system.
The issue of how Indiana's many tests, including ISTEP, affect students and teachers came up during the 2015 session in a bill introduced by Wright. The bill didn't go anywhere, but now that same language will be the point of emphasis for this year's education study committee.
"I really want to look at testing and make sure it's doing what it's supposed to be doing," Wright said. "I think right now there's too much high-stakes testing."
Wright, who is a teacher, said she thinks tests have become too curriculum-oriented. She said tests with more open-answer responses instead of hundreds of multiple choice questions might help students learn and retain crucial information.
“We need to be using the information we gain from a test to help students master knowledge and encourage them to think creatively," Wright said. "We do not need to be using tests to simply instruct them to choose between answer A, B or C on a question.”
Wright also hopes the committee looks at options that are Indiana specific as it deliberates later this summer.
"Let's make sure we are heading the right direction," she said. "Education is such a broad concept. There are no easy fixes."
The assignments for the interim committees have not yet been handed out. As Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, gets to make some of those appointments. He said he should have his picks in by the end of next week.
Despite leading the charge on looking at testing, Wright will probably not be on the education study committee because she is not on the Indiana House's standing education committee.
Lanane said he usually likes to keep education committee members on education issues in the summer. Schedules for the committees will be established once the committee members are set.
Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.
Other committeesIn addition to the testing study committee, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane thinks these summer committees could be important:• Redistricting: A committee will look at how Indiana could change the way districts are redrawn.• Adult protective services: A panel will study these services and what can be done to help them.