Department releases student ISTEP+ scores
BY CHRISTIN NANCE LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org September 9, 2013 11:21PM
The Indiana Department of Education released student ISTEP+ scores Monday even though the spring testing period was marred by interruptions.
Parents could access their children’s scores via CTB/McGraw Hill’s Indiana Parent Network site — www.INParentNetwork.com — but Department of Education spokesman Daniel Altman said school and corporation scores are still being calculated and likely will be available next week.
Scores are typically released in the summer, but nearly 80,000 students in third through eighth grade had their testing sessions interrupted due to issues with the servers of testing contractor CTB/McGraw-Hill. It was the first year where all students were given part of the test online. Students in Oklahoma encountered similar problems.
A recent report determined that the interruptions didn’t have a large impact on scores, but it recommended that 1,388 scores be thrown out to avoid tainting other scores. Altman said those scores will still be available for parents to access, but a notation will be included to indicate whether it was eliminated from the aggregated scores.
Merrillville Superintendent Mark Sperling said the delay in the release of the scores didn’t prevent the district from tailoring remediation for students who struggled on the exam, but it did have some impact on instruction.
“It didn’t allow teachers to have initial planning time to use the data to target a student’s strengths and weaknesses in order to differentiate instruction,” Sperling said. “I wish the department had decided not many of the interrupted sessions were valid. With less advantaged kids already struggling on the exam, I still find it hard to believe there was no impact.”
Sperling said Merrillville had five students whose scores were eliminated due to interruptions.
“We’re just starting to take a look at the scores by school,” Sperling said. “But we’re optimistic that it will show some increases.”
ISTEP+ scores are a major component of the state’s A-F school accountability model, as well as calculating school funding and teacher pay. But State Superintendent Glenda Ritz has said districts have flexibility in determining how the scores should impact teacher pay this year.
Ritz, meanwhile, is seeking $614,000 in damages from CTB/McGraw-Hill under provisions included in the state’s $95 million contract with the company.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.