ISTEP+ testing problems will be considered

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ISTEP+ testing was scheduled to take place the week of April 29, but due to computer and server issues that interrupted the test-taking process on April 29 and 30, testing continued until May 17 for some schools.

The ISTEP+ test, taken online across all grades for the first time this year, was monitored by CTB McGraw-Hill, a private testing vendor, throughout the state.

Carmel Clay Schools, like many school districts throughout Indiana, experienced computer and server outages on both April 29 and 30.

“When testing continued, we did not experience the interruptions like we did before,” said Amy Dudley, assistant supt. of curriculum, instruction and assessment for CCS. “The issue was a CTB/McGraw Hill issue, not a school issue. CTB/McGraw Hill and the state are looking to correct the issue.”

CTB/McGraw Hill began overseeing the testing process in 2011 as part of a $95-million, four-year contract that expires next year. Indiana is CTB/McGraw Hill’s largest contract.

“When it was determined that the CTB servers were not able to sustain the volume of users for full-day usage, we made the decision to have schools alter their test schedules to lessen the number of users accessing the test sessions for a period of three days,” Indiana Supt. of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said in a statement. “We also extended the testing window until May 17 to allow for all students to complete all test sessions. I realize these decisions have been stressful for both students and parents and have disrupted both school and family activities/plans.”

Going forward, the Indiana Dept. of Education will be working with schools and CTB/McGraw Hill to determine the validity of each test session. Those sessions taken with interruptions may be deemed invalid.

Ritz assured parents that all test sessions results will be shared with parents, students and teachers, even if a test session is invalid.

“The IDOE understands these high stakes and will work diligently to determine how best to fairly address them with this year’s ISTEP+ results,” Ritz said.

It is unclear how these interruptions may affect ISTEP+ testing schedules in future years and how, despite assurances, CTB/McGraw Hill plans to avoid future interruptions.

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