By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The online portion of the ISTEP seems to finally be working with minimal interruptions, but because of problems Monday and Tuesday, the test window has been extended.
The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has extended the testing window from May 10 to May 17.
And in order to minimize interruptions, the IDOE is asking schools to reduce their daily testing load by about 50 percent.
“I hope all the wrinkles are ironed out by (Friday) and we sail on as usual,” said Pam McWithey-Delaplane, Anderson Community Schools test coordinator.
Unlike Monday and Tuesday when there were numerous disruptions — computer screens freezing and kids being kicked out of the test - Wednesday had just a few glitches, she said.
Thursday went even smoother. But, Delaplane said, schools have had to adjust their schedules and allow fewer students to take the test at one time.
It’s been tough on the students and teachers, she said, who’ve worked hard to prepare for the big test.
“I’ve seen students in tears and teachers almost in tears,” she said, adding the younger kids thought it was something they’d done.
And the fact the IDOE grades schools partially on test scores has just been another stressor.
Leora Lashure, who has a third and sixth grader in Elwood Community Schools, said there’s been some “stress and chaos” with the test glitches, causing some concern about the possible effect on student achievement.
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said the state would conduct an investigation to determine the cause of the disruptions and that the IDOE is willing to work with schools “so that they have the time they need to administer a fair test for all Hoosier students.”
The glitches have been a statewide issue on test administrator CTB McGraw-Hill LLC.’s end. Oklahoma was running into the same problems with CTB McGraw-Hill’s online testing system.
In total, Ritz said, over one million testing sessions have been completed in Indiana this week, roughly 41 percent of the total expected sessions for ISTEP.
The online multiple choice portion of the ISTEP is mandatory for public schools and private schools on vouchers this year. Students in grades three through eight take the exam.
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