Ind. (AP) — A computer glitch kicked thousands of Indiana students offline
for a third straight day while they were taking the online version of the
state's standardized achievement test.
Department of Education spokeswoman called the problem with the ISTEP test
unacceptable, while testing vendor CTB McGraw Hill said it was working
around the clock to resolve the issue.
Indianapolis Star reported that Wednesday's outages, which lasted from
five to 15 minutes, might have affected as many as 10,000 students
statewide who were taking the multiple-choice portion of ISTEP online.
"We think this
is unacceptable, and we're pretty frustrated," Stephanie Sample,
Department of Education communications director, told The Journal Gazette
of Fort Wayne. "We hold schools accountable, and we're going to hold the
vendor accountable, too."
Hill spokeswoman Mary Skafidas said she did not know the problem's cause
and would not speculate on when it would be resolved.
"We have been
working around the clock, and we will continue to do so until the problem
is solved," she said.
About 200 East
Allen County Schools students and about 1,000 Northwest Allen County
students were affected by the glitch Wednesday, district officials said.
Fifth graders and eighth graders in Fort Wayne schools also were affected
by the outages this week.
no scores were altered by the interruptions. But Northwest Allen County
Schools Superintendent Chris Himsel was skeptical.
that happens, it makes it harder to concentrate," Himsel told The Journal
Gazette. "I would disagree with anyone who says it would have no impact on
But Fort Wayne
schools spokeswoman Krista Stockman said most teachers and students seemed
to take the glitch in stride.
happen in life," she said. "But we were not thrilled that this continued
to happen three days in a row, especially when these are high-stake
online test is a pilot project aimed at expanding online administration of
ISTEP. About 200,000 students in grades 3-8 are believed to be taking the
test online through next Wednesday. The state asked every school to test
at least one grade level online unless they had technical barriers that
prevented them from doing so.
officials said most interruptions were five minutes or less, Indianapolis
Wayne Township Schools spokeswoman Mary McDermott Lang said some students
were unable to log back in for more than an hour and one student couldn't
complete the test.
schools where everybody was booted out and some where as few as three
students booted out. The main concern is the accuracy of the results," she
who oversees testing for Indianapolis Public Schools, said some students
were logged out for nearly an hour. She said IPS is gathering information
so it can seek a review of the results.
"The kids are
nervous about the test anyway," she said. "Some will just roll with it,
but others, I don't know. It's imperative that we ask for a review of the
raise questions at a time when test data are becoming more important to
schools, which already are judged under the federal No Child Left Behind
law and given state ratings based on how students perform. A bill passed
this week by the Indiana General Assembly requires student test score
growth to be a part of teacher evaluations that will be used to determine
whether they receive pay raises.
affect merit-based pay," McDermott Lang said. "If scores aren't accurate,
how do we use that as an assessment?"
Superintendent Tony Bennett said there is no reason to doubt the results
in spite of the glitches. The online exam saves students' work and their
scores and allows them to resume where they left off.
"We all have
to acknowledge, no matter how much people are worried, that assessments in
the 21st century are going to be driven with technology, and we have to
work through these issues and set an expectation we are going to be able
to do this," he said.