Head Of Testing Company Testifies Today About ISTEP Glitches

The head of the company that administers Indiana’s online ISTEP exams will face questions from state lawmakers today about glitches that halted testing.

glenda ritz

Photo: Gretchen Frazee/WFIU News

Glenda Ritz speaks at a press conference where she announced the Indiana Department of Education was hiring a third party to review ISTEP tests.

Expect to hear some of the first public comments from CTB/McGraw-Hill president Ellen Haley since problems with the company’s servers kicked at least 78,000 Indiana students out of their tests two months ago.  Local district officials have identified another 67,000 disruptions.

It’s all prompted state superintendent Glenda Ritz to hire an outside expert to review the results and raised serious questions about whether this year’s ISTEP scores should count toward state-mandated ratings for schools and teachers.

Indianapolis Public Schools spokesperson John Althardt says no matter the result of the hearings, doubts about this year’s ISTEP will remain.

“There will always be a question mark attached to this testing period,” said Althardt. ” nd I don’t think that’s fair considering all the effort and time that was put in it by our parents and by our students and by our teachers.”

Lawmakers have also invited a representative for the state’s Department of Education and other company officials to testify before opening the floor for public comment.

Indiana House Education Committee Chair Bob Behning has said lawmakers want to find out what exactly caused the problems, and to determine whom they should hold responsible.

CTB’s current contract to provide the online ISTEP exams is worth more than $95 million.

Kyle Stokes

Kyle Stokes joined WFIU/WTIU in 2011 as an education reporter and blogger for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative reporting venture between WFIU and NPR News. He comes to Bloomington from Columbia, Mo., where he was a producer and reporter for NPR member station KBIA-FM and NBC affiliate KOMU-TV. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Stokes is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and an even prouder Minnesota Twins fan.

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