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Outgoing ISTEP Vendor Says It's Having Trouble Grading Tests

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Steve Burns
/
Indiana Public Broadcasting

After informing the Department of Education this week that there are issues with scoring this year’s ISTEP test, the president of testing company CTB attended Wednesday’s State Board of Education meeting to explain why.

The scoring issues will mean a delay in receiving student scores and school accountability grades.

The problem stems from new, technology enhanced questions that allow students to type in their answer to any given test item. Students who typed in a correct answer, but one which wasn’t recognized as correct by the computer system, are currently being penalized as submitting a wrong answer.

CTB president Ellen Haley says the company is going back over those answers to make sure students get credit for correct work, but that will add an extra month to the process. That means cut scores likely won’t be available until October, and final student scores until December. A-F grades for schools and teacher evaluations won’t be calculated until January or February.

Board member Gordon Hendry says waiting that long for accountability measures is unacceptable.

“My concern is that schools receive their grades essentially for the assessments that were given earlier this year almost a full year after their kids have taken the test,” Hendry says.

This was the last year of the state’s contract with CTB. Testing company Pearson will take over the ISTEP for spring 2016.

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