March signals in spring and potential warmer weather, but it’s also the start of the annual standardized testing season in schools throughout Indiana.

Current high school sophomores are already recording their answers during Round 1 of ISTEP+ 10, which ends March 22. While teachers with students in Grades 3-8 are preparing them for a barrage of upcoming tests, including IREAD-3, I AM and the new ILEARN exam.

ILEARN is the long-awaited replacement for the ISTEP test for Grades 3-8. Created with help from Indiana educators, this new exam is already being touted as a better gauge of overall student mastery and understanding.

“ILEARN has a computer-adaptive component that adjusts the level of item difficulty (within the grade-level content) to match the knowledge of the student. Thus, the outcomes of ILEARN will show where the individual student scores relative to developing the understanding and mastery of the grade-level content,” said Andrew Strope, Performance & Continuous Improvement officer at IPS.

Although the debate still continues amongst parents and educators about the value of standardized testing in general, Strope contends that these exams are helpful in a variety of ways, including:

  • Serving as a benchmark for parents and teachers.

“This allows parents and teachers to see how a student is doing compared to other students in his or her class, district, state and country.”

  • Providing guidelines for curriculum.

“Standardized tests give teachers a structure of what needs to be taught. This helps keep classroom material consistent.”

  • Helping students, teachers, schools and parents identify strengths and areas for improvement.

“The results can drive instructional decisions and lesson planning.”

Stay on Top of Your Student’s 2019-20 Standardized Testing Schedule

Save this list for reference throughout the school year. Also use the links in each listing for helpful assessment resources, including practice tests.


March 1-22 and April 8-May 3

Grade: 10 (high school sophomores)

Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) measures student achievement beginning in Grade 10. The test assesses:

  • English/Language Arts.

Exams are held in two rounds:

Round 1: Feb. 25-March 22

Round 2: April 8-May 3

*Students in Grade 10 are required to take ISTEP+ 10 through the 2019-20 school year. Students who do not pass must retake the exam.



March 18-29

Grade: 3

IREAD-3 (Indiana Reading Evaluation Determination) measures foundational reading standards for third-grade students each spring. Retakes are held in the summer between May 28-July 19.


*If a student doesn’t pass IREAD-3, the child can be retained in Grade 3. Schools determine whether to promote or retain a student; they are also required to provide students who do not pass with Grade 3 reading instruction and an opportunity to take IREAD-3 in the spring and/or summer of the following school year(s). Some students may be eligible for a Good Cause Exemption, which exempts the student from the retest requirement.


April 8–May 17

Grades: 3-8 and 10

I AM (Indiana’s Alternative Measure) is a state assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The exam assesses:

  • English/Language Arts (Grades 3-8 and 10).
  • Mathematics (Grades 3-8 and 10).
  • Science (Grades 4 and 6, and Biology).
  • Social Studies (Grade 5).



April 22–May 17

Grades: 3-8

The long-awaited replacement for ISTEP is finally here, and students in Grades 3-8 will take this new exam to measure their understanding of Indiana academic standards.

The standardized test for Indiana students assesses:

  • English/language Arts (Grades 3-8).
  • Mathematics (Grades 3-8).
  • Science (Grads 4 and 6).
  • Social Studies (Grade 5).

*All students enrolled in Biology will take the ILEARN Biology End of Course (ECA) test April 22–May 17. This includes eighth-graders taking Biology for high school credit. 


How ILEARN Differs from ISTEP

There are many changes that parents and students can expect with the new ILEARN exam. Here are a few of the most important, provided by Strope.

  • The testing experience will be different for each student.

ILEARN utilizes computer-adaptive software. Computer-adaptive assessments adapt to each student’s mastery of the content throughout the assessment. Every time a student answers a question, his or her response helps determine the next question presented. The difficulty of the test will adjust to each student’s skills, providing a better measure of what each student knows and can do.

  • The time spent testing will be shorter and schedules less rigid.

There are fewer restrictions around how long and when students can take the test. Teachers and administrators can decide to break up testing sessions as needed and, because ILEARN is untimed, students can take the time they need, within reason.

  • Stakeholders should receive results much faster.

Beginning in 2020, preliminary score reports will be available two weeks after testing. This process could take a little longer the first year as the state will engage in a testing norming process.

  • What hasn’t changed? The Indiana State Standards.

The ILEARN will be based on the same standards as ISTEP.