The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Education

April 29, 2013

Madison County schools feel effect of ISTEP glitches

Online testing system had issues statewide Monday

ANDERSON, Ind. — Some Madison County schools were forced to delay the first day of online ISTEP testing Monday because of glitches in the online testing system.

“We were concerned it was on our end,” said Lisa Huff, Liberty Christian interim superintendent. Other schools believed the same.

But it was a statewide problem.

According to Indiana Department of Education officials, 27,000 students were affected across Indiana. The testing contractor, CTB McGraw-Hill LLC of Carol Stream, Ill., has a $95 million, four-year contract with the state and was working to resolve the problem Monday.

“We got started, we got some done, we got interrupted,” said John Lord, principal at Pendleton’s Maple Ridge Elementary.

He said many of the students were kicked off in the middle of the test, or that computer screens froze. Huff reported the same problems at Liberty.

Both added they had to suspend testing for the rest of the day but that students will, hopefully, pick up where they left off on Tuesday.

Anderson Community Schools Superintendent Felix Chow said the morning started off slow with the online test not responding, but that the problem was fixed by late morning.

Still, there were definitely “some frustrations on teachers and students” parts.

Schools in counties like Shelby and Tippecanoe also reported problems while testing was halted in other districts like Indianapolis, Carmel and West Lafayette.

If the glitches made any sort of impact on scores, Chow said, they’ll be felt throughout the state.

Those that had to suspend testing for the day will have to rearrange schedules and continue Tuesday.

Huff said they have time to complete the exams, but that Monday’s problem still “disrupts our entire daily schedule.”

With only two computer labs in the school, she added, they had to suspend regular lab sessions for the week.

The online multiple choice portion of the ISTEP is mandatory for public schools and private schools on vouchers this year.

While technology is a nice tool, Chow said, it shouldn’t be too heavily relied on.

Huff added she’d prefer paper and pencil for an important test like ISTEP.

Lord said the glitches are unfortunate, but that “technology is the way everything is going.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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