Indiana plans to seek damages over standardized test issues

The Indiana Department of Education is planning to seek damages against a testing vendor for scoring issues and a delay in results for the state's primary standardized test.

Results for the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus were supposed to be publicly released Wednesday, but vendor Pearson notified the department last week about two scoring issues.

One question on the 10th grade test was scored inaccurately, affecting 22,000 students, according to Pearson. The second problem affects all grades but a smaller number of students' scores. Pearson didn't give any further information.

"It's frustrating. Our team works really, really hard to get things right," said Jennifer McCormick, the state's superintendent of public instruction. "We're at the mercy of the vendor getting it right."

Pearson's contract with Indiana allows the state to be eligible for damages between $50,000 and $150,000 for every day the results aren't delivered, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported.

Pearson declined to tell WRTV-TV about potential damages because the Education Department hasn't made any formal claims yet.

"Once the re-score is completed, and final scores have been delivered to schools and the public, IDOE will address penalties," said department spokesman Adam Baker.

Schools should receive ISTEP results Friday. But because of a 14-day appeal process, scores may not be public for several weeks, Baker said. The department does not have a final date for when the scores will be publicly released.

Indiana's 10th grade students will likely continue taking the ISTEP exams, but the test is being replaced for younger students. State education officials are preparing a new test starting in spring 2019 for elementary and middle-school students named ILEARN, or Indiana's Learning Evaluation Readiness Network.

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