(AP) — An outside group is reviewing Indiana's ISTEP+ troubles after
computer problems disrupted test-taking for thousands of students last
month, Indiana schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz said Monday.
Center for Improvement of Educational Assessment and its co-founder,
Richard Hill, will assess data that's tracked during testing, such as time
between answers. The center is expected to take up to five weeks to
complete its review.
thousands of students were thrown off track last month when CTB/McGraw-Hill's
servers faltered, causing online state tests to freeze. School officials
reported that computer screens froze and many students were forced to log
back in repeatedly while taking the test. The company, which is in the
middle of a $95 million contract with the state, has said test results
will likely be delayed until July.
Hoosier parents, students and educators, I was extremely frustrated with
the alarmingly high volume of test interruptions during Indiana's high
stakes test," she said. "These interruptions were simply unacceptable and
they call into question the validity of the test scores."
of Education determined the problems affected 78,000 of the 482,000
students who took the test, a far-reaching problem for schools and
teachers because of the many ways in which test results are factored into
their own assessments and pay.
meantime, angry local school administrators have said all the results
should be thrown-out. Ritz has not gone that far, but she has said she
advised local school leaders they can tamp down the weight of test results
when calculating teacher assessment. She also said she will not use
invalid or tainted results in determining how a school is graded.
answers, including whether the state will toss out the results, will have
to wait until after the National Center for Improvement of Educational
Assessment'a is completed, Ritz said.
worked evaluating standardized tests throughout the nation over the last
two decades. His review will be separate from McGraw-Hill's review and is
expected to cost roughly $53,000.
Education Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said he is supporting the
independent review and called the wait for a report "reasonable." Indiana
State Teachers Association President Nate Schnellenberger announced the
union's support for the review, also.
Senate leaders announced plans last month to investigate the test troubles
this month, but that panel has yet to meet on the issue.