News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

News

June 11, 2013

Expert to determine ISTEP validity

Interruptions during test raise questions on results

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has hired an outside expert to determine the validity of ISTEP+ test scores of nearly 80,000 students who were kicked offline while taking the high-stakes standardized test.

Ritz announced Monday that the state Department of Education has contracted with the New Hampshire-based National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment to analyze the results of tests interrupted by computer server problems at CTB/McGraw Hill, the test administrator.

Ritz said the need for an independent review was critical given that the test results impact teacher pay, school ratings and student placement.

“Because the stakes of this test are so high, the results must be beyond reproach,” Ritz said.

Nearly one in six students who took the ISTEP+ test this spring experienced some kind of disruption during the online test, Ritz said. Some students were booted off for a few seconds, before they could log on again, while others experienced longer outages.

Ritz said the “alarmingly high volume of test interruptions” was frustrating for parents, students and teachers alike.

“These interruptions were simply unacceptable, and they call into question the validity of the test scores,” Ritz said.

Of  7,182 Vigo County School Corp. students who took the ISTEP test, 2,251 of them were interrupted or showed evidence of being interrupted, said Karen Goeller, VCSC deputy superintendent.  

Ritz “recognizes it’s a serious problem … and [she] is seeking additional expertise in how to deal with this very unusual situation,” Goeller said in response to the announcement.

The state Department of Education will pay $53,600 to NCIEA for the analysis, to be done independently of a similar review being conducted by CTB/McGraw Hill. Results from the analysis are expected by mid-July.

Ritz stopped short of saying whether any of test results will be tossed out, as some school administrators have called for.

But the Democrat Ritz made clear her disapproval of the weight the testing now carries, under measures passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, in determining such things as teacher compensation and the grades schools get under the state’s A-F accountability system.

Ritz said the standardized test is no longer used as intended, for measuring student learning. “I’m hoping that the state of Indiana wants to reduce the high stakes attached to this test,” Ritz said.

She’s already told local districts that they have the option to downgrade the significance of the test scores in regards to teacher evaluations.

House Education Committee chairman Bob Behning, an Indianapolis Republican who supported the testing measures that Ritz opposes, said it’s too early to make any decisions about throwing out test scores.

“Let’s not get too far out on the issue, before we even know where we stand,” said Behning, who will lead a legislative review of the testing problems this summer.

“Everybody in the General Assembly is very aware of what happened and we’re very concerned,” he added.

Just how much impact the testing interruptions had is hard to determine, without some analysis. Some local school administrators feared students who experienced the interruptions may have been rattled by the experience and not have done well.

After reports of computer problems during the testing period in late April, the state stepped in and extended the test period into May. In all, about 482,000 students completed the ISTEP+ test, most without experiencing problems.

To determine the validity of the tests taken by students who experienced the computer problems, NCIEA will compare student test answers pre- and post-interruption, and look back at prior-year test scores, to statistically determine the validity of this year’s results.

Whether the test administrator, CTB/McGraw Hill, will be asked to repay the state for the analysis is yet to be determined. Ritz said the state has several options, including financially penalizing the company under its four-year, $95 million contract with the state.

Indiana was one of at least three states that had major problems with CTB/McGraw Hill this spring related to the standardized tests that are federally mandated. The company, which controls about 40 percent of the testing market, issued an apology in May, saying it regretted the impact of “system interruptions” that caused delays for thousands of test-taking students.

It was the third straight year that Indiana students experienced service interruptions during online testing administered by the company.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers, the Tribune-Star’s parent company. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Lawmakers Scuffle in Ukraine's Parliament Raw: Israel Hits Gaza Targets, Destroys Mosques Raw: MH17 Passenger Remains in Kharkiv, Ukraine Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Obama Offers Condolences at Dutch Embassy Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights WWII Vet Gets Medals, 70 Years Late Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message
NDN Video
Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy Prince George Turns 1 and is Already a Trendsetter Train Collides With Semi Truck Carrying Lighter Fluid Kanye West Tells-All on Wedding in "GQ" Interview Tony Dungy Weighs in on Michael Sam Scarlett Johansson Set To Marry In August New Star Wars Episode XII X-Wing Revealed Obama: Putin must push separatists to aid MH17 probe Michigan inmates no longer allowed to wear orange due to 'OITNB' Adam Levine Ties the Knot Sebastian The Ibis Walks Beautiful Bride Down The Aisle | ACC Must See Moment NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Faces of Souls Lost in Malaysian Plane Crash 105-year-old woman throws first pitch Man Creates Spreadsheet of Wife's Reasons for Turning Down Sex 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News