“It is nice to be close to home. When you hit a campaign trail for a statewide office, anything between about a 200-mile radius is called home, but this is truly home," Says Yorktown Schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, "I’m about five minutes from home so this is really nice.”

McCormick and her opponent Glenda Ritz spoke to the Indiana Writing Project in Muncie on Monday, and both have shown similar views on the campaign trail on issues like teacher pay and funding and mental health resources.

But differences did emerge when Ritz and McCormick were asked about achievement testing. Ritz is in favor of interim testing, meaning assessing students multiple times a year. She stayed with her goal of making assessments and tests two different things.

“Unfortunately, the word assessment, in our field, is now equal to the word test, but you assess every time you listen to a child read," says Ritz, "You assess every time you talk about their writing piece. You assess every time you help two kids have a debate prep. You assess all the time all day long, and it doesn’t have to be a test.”

McCormick, meanwhile, raised concerns about interim testing, saying it takes away from teachers’ abilities to truly teach their students.

“We have high-stakes testing three times a year versus one. I’m not sure that’s good for the healthy well-being of kids or staff," McCormick said.

McCormick said the time spent on assessing students should be shortened so that students and teachers can then focus on the curriculum rather than passing a major test. Katrina Gibson, the organizer of Tuesday’s event, said she hoped the forum would give Muncie voters a chance to hear from both candidates directly without any argument.

“I really hope people walked away feeling like they heard what they wanted to hear in order to go out and make a successful vote," said Gibson.

Election day is now less than three weeks away, and Hoosiers have already been lining up to vote early all over the state.