The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) has announced the spring 2013 ISTEP scores will be released Monday, September 9, more than three months later than expected. East Noble School Corporation teachers and administrators have no confidence in the validity of the grade 5-8 ISTEP scores. (The IDOE wanted the 3rd and 4th grade students to take their ISTEP test on the iPad; however, we were not confident with the iPad version of the test. Therefore, we made the decision to have the 3rd and 4th graders complete the paper and pencil version of the ISTEP test.)
During the past few years, the IDOE has pushed for all students to be tested through the Internet. This has been a challenge for many school districts who cannot afford computer labs and access for students. For ENSC, this has not been an issue as we have had labs available for many years and now all students have their own device. As the IDOE continued to require more students to test online, districts met the expectation. In addition, more states signed on for the same testing. However, CTB/McGraw Hill did not increase their capacity to handle the added students. This in return caused students in three states to experience a multitude of interruptions during testing. Students were kicked off of the Internet, screens froze, answers did not match up with questions, the audio that was to be provided for special education students did not work, and the list goes on.
By CTB/McGraw Hill’s data collection, it was reported that between 25-35 percent of our 5th – 8th grade students experienced these interruptions! That is 25-35 percent too many. To receive a fair and accurate score, no student should have experienced any interruptions and conflicts. Indiana paid an expert to analyze the data, and his preliminary results and opinion indicated that there was minimal impact to students. ENSC disagrees with this. We will never know how well our students would have done on this high stakes test if there were no interruptions and the testing environment was conducive for success.
As you evaluate your child’s 5th-8th grade ISTEP scores, please keep in mind the challenges he/she may have experienced during the testing. Your child may have been prepared and ready for the test, but was not able to perform at their best due to circumstances out of his/her control.