Indiana

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After Disrupted Exams, Indiana's Largest District Says It Won't Accept ISTEP+ Results

A student works on an online lesson.

After widespread disruptions to the online standardized tests used to evaluate Indiana students, teachers and schools, the state’s largest school district announced Wednesday it “has refused to accept results — good or bad — from this year’s ISTEP+ exam,” reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette’s Sarah Janssen:

Fort Wayne Community Schools… is calling on lawmakers to re-evaluate the state’s system of accountability centered on test scores.

The district will not use the data from the test in its evaluations and will not distribute the test results to parents or teachers “unless and until they can be validated by a legitimate, independent third party.”

“It is now time to pause sanctions related to this test – a test that was not designed to measure all aspects of educational achievement,” FWCS officials wrote in an overview.

More from the AP:

[Testing company CTB/McGraw Hill] has said previously that it was working with state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s office to check the validity of any test sessions that were disrupted.

Ritz acknowledged during a conference call with educators earlier this month that the scores could be in question and indicated a third-party review might be warranted.

“The general public and you, rightfully so, will feel the testing this year is not valid,” Ritz said during the call. “So we are going to be wrestling with the validity of test scores.”

Fort Wayne officials join educators in other parts of the state raising serious questions about the exam results’ validity — among them, West Lafayette Community Schools superintendent Rocky Killion.

“If you have students who are being interrupted time and time again, and students who aren’t being interrupted,” Killion told StateImpact. “I believe that’s a validity issue with regards to making accurate comparisons not only across grade levels but across school districts in the state.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier‘s Dave Bangert later quoted Killion as saying, “It is just a matter of time before parents move off the sideline to join in.”

Consider, also, guidance from the Indiana Department of Education on when districts can appeal their letter grade rating from the state:

With rare exceptions, only statistical errors in the underlying data provide cause for reconsidering a PL 221 (A-F grade) category placement. The corporation or school must submit evidence to support the appeal.

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