Alarming ILearn results call for Indiana’s largest ever financial investment in literacy

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - Results for one of Indiana’s standardized tests, ILearn, came back last month, and were so alarming, leaders in the state felt they need to step in.

In 2019, when ILearn was introduced to classrooms in Indiana, replacing the ISTEP exams, 37 percent of 3rd through 8th grade students across Indiana scored proficient in math and English.

However, now, two years after remote learning caused by a pandemic, proficiency has been cut to only 30 percent.

“Which means that 70 percent of all 3rd through 8th graders, statewide, are not proficient in either math or English or both. We think that is evidence of a crisis,” said Kevin Brinegar, the President and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday, the State of Indiana and the Lilly Endowment made an $111 million dollar investment, the state’s largest-ever financial investment in literacy.

According to the State, the investment is set to go towards the deployment of of instructional coaches to schools throughout Indiana, stipends for teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading, targeted support for students, and the creation of a literacy center, focused on Science of Reading strategies.

“We think it’s important that student’s be able to be at least proficient you know that minimum cut score,” Brinegar said.

Close to home, School City of Mishawaka officials told 16 News Now that while ILearn scores are important indicators of knowledge, they take their student’s results with a grain of salt.

“The phrase we like to say is, we don’t want to treat it as an autopsy, rather we want to treat it as a starting point,” said Dr. Caity Stockstell, the Director of Teaching and Learning for the School City of Mishawaka.

At School City of Mishawaka, ILearn scores went up roughly three percent this year compared to last year, and Stockstell told 16 News Now, they plan to keep improving.

“We are really proud of the work that we’ve done, and we’re headed in the right direction, but we obviously know that we still have more work to do,” Stockstell said.

Work that needs to be done across the entire state.

“I mean that’s our future workforce, and it’s very alarming,” said Brinegar.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce told 16 News Now that more investments and plans were in the works to better educate, and prepare young Hoosiers for their futures.

For more information on ILearn results at specific schools, click here.