ISTEP Stress Test Delayed Due To School Feedback

Jan 20, 2015

CTB/McGraw-Hill officials answer questions about disruptions to the state ISTEP test in 2013.
Credit Kyle Stokes / http://indianapublicmedia.org/stateimpact/

The next stress test for computer systems used in the ISTEP exam across Indiana was supposed to take place Tuesday.

Now, it won’t happen until sometime in February.

The stress test by ISTEP maker CTB/McGraw-Hill was delayed due to feedback the company received from schools, according to the Department of Education. The maker says it wants to make sure thousands of students can simultaneously take the online portion of the exam without incident.

Indiana Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman says the first stress test took place last week.

“[We're] checking to make sure that the servers are ready, so that when our students begin the actual ISTEP test later this spring that everything is running smoothly and we can avoid any problems,” Altman says.

The stress tests have been watched closely since 2013, when 78,000 students taking the ISTEP were disrupted. CTB/McGraw-Hill was fined by the state for violating its contract.

The company was fired by the state of Oklahoma for similar problems.

There were fewer disruptions last year, and Altman says the company is hoping for even fewer this year by moving hosting of the ISTEP to the cloud.

“As opposed to installed on every local machine and every computer lab throughout the state,” Altman says. “So it’ll take them a little bit, they’re working right now to make sure they have all the settings set up properly for that.”

Altman says the department is working closely with CTB/McGraw-Hill to listen to concerns raised by educators during the stress testing, since part one of ISTEP is approaching.