Outside Evaluator to Review ISTEP Exams
Created by kblakeslee on 6/10/2013 4:23:37 PM

(NETWORK INDIANA) _ So many problems were reported with ISTEP-Plus testing this past school year that it will take an outside evaluator to sort through it all.

State school superintendent Glenda Ritz announced that that the Department of Education will pay $53,000 to have the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment look at ISTEP scores to see whether interruptions to more than 78,000 students taking the online version of the exam should invalidate their scores.

“Like all Hoosier parents, students, and educators, I was extremely frustrated with the alarmingly high volume of test interruptions during Indiana’s high stakes test,” said Ritz. “These interruptions were simply unacceptable, and they call into question the validity of the testing data.”

NCIEA’S co-founder Dr. Richard Hill will conduct an independent analysis of the validity of the online tests taken by students that were interrupted numerous times by server errors. The analysis will be independent from that conducted by ISTEP creator CTB-McGraw Hill. Ritz would not say whether all of the results might be thrown out because of problems experienced by about 16-percent of students taking the exam.

While saying she opposes the "high stakes" attached to the ISTEP, Ritz acknowledges she is limited in how she can reduce the exam‘s influence on student and teacher assessment. The state is committed to the ISTEP for the next two years under current law, though Ritz says she will suggest that school districts put less weight on ISTEP scores during the teacher evaluation process.