State Board Of Ed Approves ISTEP Cut Scores, Won't Compare Online, Paper Versions

Oct 28, 2015

Credit NYC Department of Education / http://schools.nyc.gov/default.htm

 Indiana’s State Board of Education Wednesday approved cut scores for the 2015 ISTEP+ test at a special meeting (the score a student needs to pass the annual exam), whether they took the online or paper/pencil version. However, students who took the online assessment could get a little extra boost that could help them reach the passing mark.

The board had planned to vote on 2015 cut scores at its meeting earlier this month, but decided to wait until test experts finished comparing the online and paper/pencil versions of the test.

Those experts say their review confirms that small, but significant differences in difficulty did in fact exist between the two versions. In most cases, that worked in favor of students taking paper/pencil. They say test graders can make up the difference by assigning a few bonus points for students who took the online assessment.

Today, the board simply approved cut scores – the borderline between passing and failing – and will decide whether to award those bonus points after reviewing expert reports over the next week.

State Superintendent Glenda Ritz says her department needs to consult with federal officials before moving forward making adjustments with student scores.

That is outside the realm of our acountability system right now," she says. "So taking that kind of action...is there something from the U.S. Department of Education that we would need to be doing?"

Ritz says the board will have a better idea of what the timeline looks like for finalizing and releasing student scores after next their meeting November 4.