06/03/13 Computer glitches experienced as Hoosier school children took the required ISTEP tests are now leading to difficulties for both teachers and students. CTB/McGraw-Hill, the company that administered the tests for a four-year contract (through June, 2014) fee of $95 million, was unable to keep computers up and running during the second round of testing periods. Students were often bumped off the test before completing a section. The IDOE had to extend the testing period by one week to allow for all students to complete the requirements. All in all, some 70,000 tests were affected by the problems.
Now getting the scores of the tests will likely be delayed until July. Historically, the scores are released to school districts by the end of the school year in May. Schools are then able to review data from the scores and seek corrections if warranted, before the scores are released to the public.
Speaking on behalf of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), Daniel Altman said they are in the process of selecting an independent evaluator to verify the validly of the tests.
Plymouth Schools Superintendent Daniel Tyree said, “Teacher Evaluations cannot be completed until ISTEP scores are back. This means that teachers will leave the building not knowing their final evaluation.” Indiana lawmakers have now tied teacher compensations to evaluations. A part of teacher evaluations is based on student achievement and a portion of that data is related to ISTEP scores.
Menominee Elementary Principal, Michael Dunn, said not receiving the scores until July means less time to create student placements for interventions and curriculum development. Dunn said, “Technically, we will still be able to assign in August before the kids come back to school, but it will put teacher and staff under rushed deadlines.”
Carol Anders Correspondent