HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) – It’s not just schools left in the dark when it comes to ISTEP issues, but state education officials as well. We are continuing to dig deeper to uncover more about ISTEP issues plaguing some of our local school districts. Will the state pull the plug on the test provider? A woman from our area who serves on the state board of education is speaking out about it.
Indiana State Board of Education board member Cari Whicker says new state standards adopted earlier this week mean the state will need to create a new ISTEP test. Something that takes 18-24 months, and the state will accept bids from testing companies. So, McGraw Hill could very well keep or lose its title as the test provider for Indiana.
“As this point everyone is feeling the frustration,” Whicker said.
You might remember on Monday Fort Wayne Community Schools, the largest district in the state, announced it pulled the plug from online ISTEP testing. Several others across the state have pushed back their window for testing because of issues with the test provider CTB McGraw Hill.
“What I have heard in several instances is that the problem is not the school corporations computer system. They really feel like it’s CTB and CTB’s infrastructure is concerning.”
For school districts like FWCS who have to wait until after Memorial Day to administer paper and pencil tests – are they getting an unfair advantage? They have three more weeks to prep for the test some students are taking right now.
“Teachers in the area are feeling concerned even if it’s us not with the problem because those students now have three more weeks in the classroom that they don’t have and that’s a concern. When we look at the test scoring it is normed in several areas and so will that norming affect my students because they have had additional time that we haven’t had?”
Whicker says she doesn’t have the answers and has been turning to other state officials to uncover answers surrounding the high stakes test.
“We want the test to be reliable. We want the test to be valid. Yet we have all of these questions surrounding it.”
No one at the Governor’s office or Department of Education answered our questions Wednesday. McGraw Hill directed us to the Department of Education.