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Indiana introduces a new data tool to increase student literacy and empower individuals

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Indianapolis, Indiana – The “new data visualization tool” announced by the Indiana Department of Education on Tuesday will provide people with information to enhance literacy in the state.

The state of Indiana’s literacy rate has decreased by about 10% since 2013, according to recent data from the department. Before COVID-19, Indiana’s Secretary of Education Katie Jenner called the decreasing trend “already in process.”

“If we look longitudinally back 10 years ago, we see that over 90% of our students were reading. I think the highest was 91.4%. Today, we’re at 81.9%, and that drop was happening before the pandemic. And then this just exacerbated it,” Jenner said.

According to department data, 81.9% of Indiana’s third-grade students were proficient readers in the 2022–2023 school year—a mere 0.3% gain from the year before.

Better educational outcomes were emphasized in several of the recommendations Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb brought up in his 2024 State of the State speech on Tuesday, and the department anticipates that the new tool will help achieve this objective.

Users will be able to see hot spot locations for passing and failing school districts at both the state and school levels with this tool, which looks and feels like a heat map. Additionally, the following areas’ statistics and percentages will be displayed by the tools:

• The number (or percentage) of students able to read by the end of third grade
• The number of students not able to read by the end of third grade
• The number of students advancing to fourth grade without foundational reading skills
• The number of students earning a Good Cause Exemption (GCE)
• The number of students who are proficient in math (passed ILEARN Math in third grade), but are not proficient in reading (did not pass IREAD-3)

The department says as the tool is refined, “it will help to: quantify the number of students in each grade level who are unable to read; track the long-term impacts of illiteracy; evaluate the impact of the state’s current literacy efforts; and inform ongoing policy decisions.”

According to Holcomb’s statement, the state set a target in 2022 to raise 95% of third graders in the state to a proficient reading level by 2027.

“The future of our state depends on our ability to equip our youngest Hoosiers with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful both in life and in their chosen career, and this starts with ensuring students can read,” he said.

You can check the state’s literacy tool on the Department of Education’s website.

 

 

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