IUPUI's own Michael Cohen comments on the real questions we should ask about ISTEP (and math) in todays IndyStar at [ http://blogs.indystar.com/intouch/archives/002021.html#comments ]. There's been much debate and no legislative action to move the ISTEP (Indiana's high-stakes test for the non-Hoosier reader) to the Spring. A colleague has mentioned to me that 1) this is going to cost a lot of money as it involves redesigning the test (a commonly overlooked fact); and 2) an unanticipated reality that for results to get back to be useful to educators (supposedly the point after all) they will have to eliminate the writing portion. So....becuase of the move, the best part of the test is lost.
Another issue here is the addition of social studies to the subjects tested. Oh, to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight! The dilemma here is that schools will no longer be able to cut social studies from curriculum to make room for test prep--which happens to shocking degree, go ask a 5th grader--but, in the spirit of be careful what you wish for, it will then be reduced to a really long list of items that can be measured by a multiiple choice test. Needless to say, this is not why I got in this business. Dare I say it this is reflective of the age-old debate of history v. social studies, or.....even, what is the purpose of school??