INDIANAPOLIS – Legislative leaders have accepted a proposal from State Rep. Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) to have lawmakers study the impact of testing on students and school corporations across Indiana.
During a meeting Thursday, members of the Legislative Council – consisting of Republican and Democratic leadership in the Indiana House and Senate – directed the Interim Study Committee on Education Issues to examine school testing and reporting. The committee would study the subject with the idea of proposing legislation for consideration during the 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
The proposal is keyed on a measure (House Bill 1576) authored by Wright during the 2015 legislative session. That proposal did not make it through the process, but leaders agreed that the concepts contained in the legislation were compelling enough to demand study over the interim.
“My legislation asked that we consider the impact of statewide testing requirements on our school systems,” Wright said. “It asked that we look at the means of collecting data and reports required by both the state and federal government.
“The genesis of this proposal was keyed on the belief that many of us have that our state needs a testing system that is both authentic and purposeful,” she continued. “By that, I mean we need to be using the information we gain from a test to help students master knowledge and encourage them to think creatively. We do not need to be using tests to simply instruct them to choose between answer A, B or C on a question.”
During her first year in the Indiana House, Wright became part of a growing number of legislators who began to speak out on the need for different approaches in Indiana classrooms to help students realize their potential, rather than focus on an endless array of testing.
“There should be more to problem solving than simply selecting the right answer on a test,” Wright said. “We need to be encouraging everyone involved in educating our children to be thinking more outside the box. I honestly think that this is one area where we would be better-served by encouraging more local control and take greater advantage of the resources available at that level in order to broaden student knowledge.
“It is exciting to think that we will have the opportunity to take a look at all of these issues in the months to come, and I am thankful that our leaders understood the need to study these issues now and find solutions now,” she concluded.
Members of the Interim Study Committee on Education Issues will be announced in the weeks to come.