Rep. Arnold: Working to replace ISTEP

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Tuesday, May 10, 2016

This legislative session, we worked together to find ways to better evaluate our students and schools in order to continue producing some of the best and brightest minds here in Indiana. By eliminating the troubled ISTEP exam, we laid the foundation to review and replace it with something more effective.

The new law phases out the test by July 2017, and creates a 23-member panel to review and recommend an alternative to the statewide standardized test. The majority of panel members are educators including teachers, professors and school administrators from throughout the state.

One of the members of the panel is Julie Kemp, principal at Chrisney Elementary School in the North Spencer County School Corporation. It will be a great benefit to have someone from our area serve on the ISTEP review panel to ensure that the needs and concerns of southern Indiana are heard. Devising an alternative to the ISTEP that is shorter and easier to administer will not be an easy task but I am confident that Kemp, along with the rest of the board, can achieve this goal. 

The ISTEP review panel will meet over the summer and fall months and submit its recommendations for a better way to measure student achievement to the General Assembly and governor by Dec. 1. We will not be able to improve if we cannot efficiently measure our progress. By presenting their suggestions to both the executive and legislative branches, we can ensure that everyone is up to date on the new method of testing.

The panel’s membership was recently finalized and the state’s 30-year-old assessment will soon be gone. It is encouraging that most of the panelists are educators and professionals who have dedicated their lives to serving Hoosier students at every level of education. The time to address the challenges we have faced in recent years is now and I am eager to see what suggestions the panel comes up with so we can continue to lead Indiana forward.

Please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at You can also learn more about the work being done on your behalf by signing up to receive my email updates at


Rep. Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.