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Some schools switch from online to paper tests

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Some school corporations in Indiana are opting to use pencils and paper for the state's standardized tests instead of risking another round of technology problems like those that dogged last year's tests.

Indiana Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said Monday that the first day of Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress, or ISTEP, tests went smoothly, with about 172,000 sessions completed as anticipated.

But Fort Wayne Community Schools announced it has dropped the online version of the standardized test following issues with a practice run last week, and Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said Wayne Township schools in Indianapolis is also trading computer testing for traditional paper tests.

"After several days of computer network issues related to CTB/McGraw Hill's servers, we lost confidence that testing could take place without the extensive interruptions students experienced last year," Fort Wayne Superintendent Wendy Robinson said in a news release. "We refuse to subject students and staff to the probability of the same thing happening this year. Our students deserve the opportunity to be tested in an environment that is conducive to their success."

About 80,000 Indiana students in third through eighth grade were kicked off the online test last spring when CTB/McGraw-Hill's computer servers crashed, a report found.

And last week, CTB/McGraw-Hill blamed a hardware failure at a data center for the glitch that stalled Oklahoma school's standardized testing. Oklahoma State Superintendent Janet Barresi has recommended her state not renew its contract with CTB/McGraw-Hill for 2014-2015.

A spokesman for the company declined comment Monday evening.

"The Department of Education is in continuous communication with CTB, and we were even before we heard about the Oklahoma issue," Ritz said Monday. "We will continue to monitor every single day."

In Fort Wayne last week, connectivity issues caused problems that were not flaws on the part of the school, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said. She said schools have expanded bandwidth to five times the speed from last year in part to help prepare for this year's ISTEP tests.

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  • Ritz
    This is what you get when you have a Democrat in charge. Can't wait to get a common sense Republican back in this office!

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  1. I took Bruce's comments to highlight a glaring issue when it comes to a state's image, and therefore its overall branding. An example is Michigan vs. Indiana. Michigan has done an excellent job of following through on its branding strategy around "Pure Michigan", even down to the detail of the rest stops. Since a state's branding is often targeted to visitors, it makes sense that rest stops, being that point of first impression, should be significant. It is clear that Indiana doesn't care as much about the impression it gives visitors even though our branding as the Crossroads of America does place importance on travel. Bruce's point is quite logical and accurate.

  2. I appreciated the article. I guess I have become so accustomed to making my "pit stops" at places where I can ALSO get gasoline and something hot to eat, that I hardly even notice public rest stops anymore. That said, I do concur with the rationale that our rest stops (if we are to have them at all) can and should be both fiscally-responsible AND designed to make a positive impression about our state.

  3. I don't know about the rest of you but I only stop at these places for one reason, and it's not to picnic. I move trucks for dealers and have been to rest areas in most all 48 lower states. Some of ours need upgrading no doubt. Many states rest areas are much worse than ours. In the rest area on I-70 just past Richmond truckers have to hike about a quarter of a mile. When I stop I;m generally in a bit of a hurry. Convenience,not beauty, is a primary concern.

  4. Community Hospital is the only system to not have layoffs? That is not true. Because I was one of the people who was laid off from East. And all of the LPN's have been laid off. Just because their layoffs were not announced or done all together does not mean people did not lose their jobs. They cherry-picked people from departments one by one. But you add them all up and it's several hundred. And East has had a dramatic drop I in patient beds from 800 to around 125. I know because I worked there for 30 years.

  5. I have obtained my 6 gallon badge for my donation of A Positive blood. I'm sorry to hear that my donation was nothing but a profit center for the Indiana Blood Center.

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