IBJNews

Indiana ISTEP testing to resume, but at half the test load

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Required standardized tests for Indiana students will resume Wednesday after two days of computer glitches, but state officials asked schools to cut their normal test loads by half to avoid more problems.

The Indiana Department of Education issued a statement Tuesday evening saying the decision to resume the ISTEP+ exams was "based upon assurances made by CTB McGraw Hill," the state's test vendor.

"In order to prevent further issues, the DOE is asking schools to decrease their daily test load to 50 percent of their normal levels until further notice. The DOE will work with local schools to ensure that they have the time they need to fairly administer the test," the statement says.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz ordered testing halted earlier Tuesday after schools in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Lafayette and other areas reported issues accessing the online portion of the exams. The directive came a day after 27,000 students struggled to connect and complete the test.

Ritz called the problems "unacceptable."

"All of our students deserve to take a test that is valid, accurate and reliable," she said in a statement.

The glitches sparked concerns about the impact on students and teachers.

The Indiana State Teachers Association issued a statement Tuesday saying it wanted proof from Indiana officials that problems with the exam won't hurt teachers. The union noted that recent changes in state law have tied ISTEP+ results to school ratings, individual teacher evaluations and teachers' compensation.

Rocky Killion, superintendent of West Lafayette Community Schools, said the problems cast doubt on the validity of the test results.

"We will not get an accurate picture of how well students are doing," he told the Journal & Courier.

This is the third straight year that students in grades three through eight taking the online portion of the exam have encountered problems, The Indianapolis Star reported.

CBT/McGraw-Hill had initially reported all testing systems were running fine Tuesday. But it changed its status as students began logging in and connection problems arose, urging schools to suspend testing until 12:30 p.m.

Ritz said about 150,000 test sessions were completed by 11 a.m. but that interruptions spiked a short time later.

Indianapolis Public Schools spokesman John Althardt said the problems were discouraging.

"There is so much buildup and expectation and anticipation about what the test means that any disruptions in the schedule and rhythm of testing for our students is frustrating for us," he said. "We feel we've done our best to prepare our students and schools and then when we're unable to conduct this testing. It's a source of frustration."

In 2011, up to 10,000 students statewide were logged off and some were unable to log back in for up to an hour while taking the test. The state invalidated 215 scores that year because they were lower than expected.

About 9,000 students were kicked offline during the test last year.

Carol Stream, Ill.-based McGraw-Hill administers the exam under a four-year, $95 million contract with the Indiana Department of Education. The contract runs through June 2014.

The contract requires McGraw-Hill to provide "uninterrupted" computer availability every school day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the two weeks prior to each testing window, as well as for the entire testing window.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Another Daniels Failure
    Let us keep in mind this system was set up by Tony Bennett with approval by the Mitch Daniels administration. Just like the distance leaning boondoggle. We'l be paying for those policies and mistakes for years.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

ADVERTISEMENT