Study reveals ISTEP test scores were unaffected despite outages - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Study reveals ISTEP test scores were unaffected despite outages

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The results of Indiana's high stakes annual exam were not hurt by the problems taking the test online.

A report released on Monday by the Department of Education shows students who's computers froze in the middle of the ISTEP test last year tended to show larger gains from year to year than those who were not interrupted.

The state hired a third party to review the results, and it found the state average score was not affected by widespread outages.

In Indiana students in 3rd through 8th grade take the ISTEP test.

But, the problems on the test means local districts still don't how individual schools or students performed on the ISTEP.

Tammy Haub prepares for kids to come back to Clarksville Middle School, still wondering about the biggest test from last school year. When Indiana moved the ISTEP online, server issues had thousands of students seeing frozen computers.

"I'm really sad about the ISTEP data, the loss of it, not being able to use it," Haub said. "I take that information soon as it comes in and I peruse it and make notes. So it's going to be hard not having the concrete data to drive my instruction."

The state had an outside party look at the exam and delayed the results. Monday afternoon, the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment found Indiana's overall average score was not affected by widespread outages.

Students who experienced interruptions tended to show larger year-to-year gains than those who didn't.

"It's important because each school and each school district is given a letter grade based upon that one standardized measure," said Andy Melin, Greater Clark County Schools superintendent.

But those grades are still not known, and neither are individual school, district or student results. It's a problem as Clarksville uses ISTEP to help set some class schedules.

Haub says she will give an assessment in the first week of school to get the data on her classes that she would have liked to use from the ISTEP. Superintendent Melin also says Greater Clark schools used benchmarking data and results from other tests to place students.

Merit pay is also at stake. New state law ties up to $10,000 in teachers' bonuses to their annual evaluations. Half the review is based on their students' ISTEP performance.

Unknown ISTEP results equals zero bonuses so far.

"If we don't get the results until the end of the school year, that could have an impact on teacher salary, and taxes for the year, so there's a lot of implications riding on this," saidKim Knott, Clarksville Community Schools Superintendent.

Haub says she never knew those computer glitches could have such a far-reaching affect.

"It really, really did, and I just can't say how much it's going to impact the smooth start to the school year," she said. "Hitting the ground running and wasting time."

The Indiana department of education says getting these individual results online is the next step but calls from WDRB to see about a timeline went unreturned. Meanwhile, leaders are trying to get a settlement from C-T-B, McGraw Hill the provider of the online ISTEP test.

Copyright 2013 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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