ISTEP “Stress Test” Delayed till February

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): The next stress test for computer systems used in the ISTEP exam across Indiana was supposed to take place today. Now, it won‘t happen until sometime in February.

The test by ISTEP maker CTB/McGraw-Hill to make sure thousands of students could simultaneously take the online portion of the exam without incident was delayed due to feedback the company received from schools according to the Department of Education. “The first stress test took place last Tuesday, so we‘re going to take a look at what happened there and then what happens during the next (stress test) in February and asses what needs to be done,” said department spokesman Daniel Altman.

The stress tests have been watched closely since 2013, when 78,000 students saw their ISTEP disrupted at some point. CTB/McGraw-Hill was fined by the state for violating its contract, but the company was fired by the state of Oklahoma for similar problems.

There were fewer disruptions last year, and Altman says the company is hoping for fewer this year by moving hosting of the ISTEP to the cloud rather than installing it on servers around the state. “It will take them a little bit..they are working to make sure they have all the settings correct for that,” Altman said. ISTEP also will reflect Indiana‘s new academic standards which replaced Common Core standards beginning with the new school year, though many of the new standards mirror Common Core.
ISTEP is given to students in grades 3 through 8 in two parts – the first can be given during the first two weeks of March, the second from late April through mid-May. Altman says the department is working closely with CTB/McGraw-Hill to listen to concerns raised by educators during the stress testing since part 1 of ISTEP is approaching.

“(Teachers) want to make sure this is done the right way, so we have been taking their input and doing everything we can to make sure the company that runs this is running it right,” said Altman.