FWCS drops ISTEP computers for paper

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) announced Monday afternoon that students will be taking the second round of ISTEP+ testing using paper instead of computers. ISTEP testing at FWCS will now be pushed back to late May, according to school officials.

The largest school district in Indiana said the reason for the decision was so students could take the state standardized test in a more reliable format.

“After several days of computer network issues related to CTB-McGraw Hill’s servers, we lost confidence that testing could take place without the extensive interruptions students experienced last year,” FWCS superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said.

School officials said the Indiana Department of Education (DOE) worked with FWCS to provide the solution.

“We have met our obligation in preparing our students and our network for these exams,” Board of School Trustees President Mark GiaQuinta said. “It is disappointing that once again we find ourselves in a situation where the testing company’s system cannot handle the testing. This reinforces the error in using one exam as the sole data point for all accountability measures. Relying on one test just doesn’t work.”

The test is pushed back because test booklets and identification labels need to be made and printed for the school district. Tests are expected to arrive in late May.

Robinson said pushing the test back will also mean schools will have to adjust other tests taken in May, as well as end-of-the-year activities.

Other school districts in Fort Wayne comment on ISTEP testing issues:

Northwest Allen County Schools (NACS) Superintendent Chris Himsel said so far, no ISTEP issues have been reported.

Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) Superintendent Dr. Steve Yager said they’ve done a number of tests and have had all 1,800 middle schools students run a practice test on line during the same time period. Yager said they’ve encountered about three dozen problems and concerns, but all concerns have remedied.

“I have stated publicly I have no confidence in CTB to conduct a successful exam period for our students. As SACS reported to the DOE last year, 100 percent of our students taking ISTEP exams were negatively impacted due to the inability of CTB to fulfill their contract. I continue with a significant lack of confidence for a successful experience this year,” Yager told NewsChannel 15.

East Allen County Schools (EACS) spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly said they have had no widespread issues that have caused alarm. The majority of EACS schools will begin practice ISTEP testing this week. Operational testing begins Tuesday, May 6.

NewsChannel 15 will have more on this story at 5, 6 and 11 Monday night.

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