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ISTEP Scores Delayed Because Of Glitches

Laptops set up with pencils and scratch paper at the ready in a temporary testing lab at Tecumseh Junior High in Lafayette. School principal Brett Gruetzmacher says his school needs to set up temporary testing spaces to accomodate the number of test-takers they have this year.

Computer problems during testing have delayed ISTEP scores by about six weeks.

By this time last year, students had received their ISTEP results and school districts were able to start preparing for next year. But this year schools experienced outages and delays during the testing window because of server problems at CTB/McGraw Hill, the company that administers the online test.

The delay could cause problems for schools trying to plan for next year.

Bloomington’s Tri North Middle School Principal Gale Hill says without ISTEP results, it’s difficult to create teacher schedules and rosters for next year.

“I have until June 11 to finish the schedule, so with every day the scores are delayed, it’s that much more trouble with my schedule because we have classes for those students who did not pass the ISTEP Math and ISTEP English/Reading portion,” Hill says. “So I cannot schedule students into those classes until I know who they are.”

Bloomfield School District Superintendent Dan Sichting says that an overload on the testing computers caused problems for testing at his schools, and as a result many of his students may not be getting results at all due to testing system errors.

“We are concerned by some of the issues that occurred with ISTEP,” he says. “For example, about 36 percent of our fifth grade students are going to have their tests invalidated. We don’t think you’re going to get an accurate gauge for schools about their performance when over one third of a class is going to be invalidated.”

A message on CTB/McGraw Hill’s website says it will be about six more weeks before Indiana schools get ISTEP results.

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