News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 5, 2013

ISTEP delay hurting summer sessions

South Vermillion School Corp. cancels remediation program

TERRE HAUTE — A delay in the release of ISTEP scores has caused South Vermillion School Corp. to cancel its related summer school remediation program.

“It’s not a major setback, but a setback nonetheless,” said Dave Chapman, superintendent.

The summer program, for those who didn’t pass ISTEP, should have started this week. But with the statewide computer glitches, “We don’t anticipate getting scores until sometime in July,” he said.

And that’s getting close to the start of the next school year.

As a result, the ISTEP remediation program for grades three through eight has been canceled. The district will instead provide remediation to students this fall, during the school day and through some after-school programs.

Some teachers who had been assigned to summer school were “a little disappointed,” as were some students and parents, he said.

In past years, the district has applied for, and received, at least partial state reimbursement for the program.

The district is offering its I-READ 3 summer program, which starts today, and another remedial program for high school students who have not passed Algebra 1, English 10 or related end-of-course assessments.

Students must pass the courses, and end-of-course assessments, to graduate.

Chapman noted that the delay in receiving ISTEP scores also is delaying completion of new state-required teacher evaluations. One component of those evaluations is a student’s growth on ISTEP.

Because of the state testing glitches and potential impact on student performance, Chapman doesn’t believe the test results should be used for teacher evaluations or school grades this year. “Don’t hold us accountable for something that’s not our fault,” he said.

But schools should be able to use the scores to assess student’s academic needs, he said.

The problem was with the test vendor, CTB/McGraw-Hill, which was hired by the state to administer the test. The CTB servers were being overloaded, which caused many students to get kicked off the test, while others could not log in to testing software.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

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