After thousands of Johnson County students finish their ISTEP test this spring, they’ll have to tackle one or two more: The Indiana Department of Education chose them to try out future portions of the exams.

Every year, the state randomly chooses schools to take extra portions of the ISTEP exam that include questions that could be used on future tests. The sections do not count for a grade, but schools that are picked by the state must give students the extra test.

The exams can take 35 to 60 minutes each and have to be completed within a week or two of the ISTEP tests, officials said.

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Typically, only one or two grade levels in each school district are picked to take the pilot tests, said Franklin executive director of curriculum and instruction Deb Brown-Nally.

But this year, every single grade level that takes ISTEP will also be taking at least one pilot test at Franklin, Brown-Nally said. Some grade levels were chosen for both part 1 and part 2 of the pilot tests, Brown-Nally said.

Center Grove, Clark-Pleasant, Greenwood, Indian Creek, Edinburgh and Franklin each have more than one grade level chosen to take these additional tests.

Brown-Nally contacted the Indiana Department of Education to ask why students still have to take the pilot sections since legislators are discussing replacing or getting rid of ISTEP in the future, she said. The Department of Education has not responded yet, Brown-Nally said.

This year, the field tests will hit every single Greenwood school building, said Lisa Harkness, the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Having every grade level needing to take the additional exams is a rarity, Harkness said.

“In the past, it might have been one building and one grade level,” she said.

The state department of education did not offer an explanation for why so many Johnson County children are taking the pilot tests this year.

For the grade 10 students, these field tests add to the double-dose of required exams this year, and will be taken between ISTEP and the end-of-course assessments.

Every 10th grade student at the six school districts must take at least one section of the pilot test.

Franklin and Edinburgh sophomores are required to take both part 1 and part 2 of the state’s pilot test, officials said.

The extra sections of the exam will force some school districts to do online testing earlier than anticipated. For example, the majority of school districts are using written portions of ISTEP with paper and pencil this week, but by next week, students will have to hop on computers for the field tests, said Indian Creek testing coordinator Brian Boehnlein.

Testing online has been a hurdle for administrators since a new company is administering the ISTEP exam this year. Every school district had to change software and create new accounts with Pearson to do the online portions of the pilot tests and ISTEP exams.

The online-only portion of ISTEP will start in April, but schools chosen for a field test have to finish those online, administrators said.

A timeline of testing

Students in grades 3-8 and 10 statewide will be testing during the next two months. Here’s a look at the testing windows for ISTEP, IREAD-3 and end-of-course assessments:

ISTEP, Part 1: Monday – March 11

IREAD-3: March 14 – 18

ISTEP, Part 2: April 18 – May 6

End-of-Course Assessments: April 25 – June 1

SOURCE: Indiana Department of Education

At a glance

School districts are randomly chosen to participate in BOOK II field tests, which are extra sections of possible future ISTEP exam questions that students must take.

Here’s what grades will be taking the extra sections this year:

Center Grove

Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 10


Grades 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10


Grades 3, 5, 6, 8, 10


Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10


Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10


Grades 3, 6, 8, 10