Local Schools React to ISTEP+ Review

No measurable negative impact occurred after computer glitches interrupted students taking the ISTEP+ test last spring. That’s according to an official review of the testing.

The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment was hired by the Indiana Department of Education to evaluate the validity of the tests.

Oregon-Davis Interim Superintendent Greg Briles argues the point that no measurable impact occurred at his school as 88 students were affected by the interruptions. He explained that O-D is a small school and those numbers are big when compared to larger schools – such as the Knox Community School Corporation. Briles says the impact is not comparing apples to apples.

Knox Community School Superintendent A.J. Gappa said only four percent, or 38 students, were affected but he won’t know much more about how much that will impact scores until he meets with the building principals Wednesday.

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon said that the ISTEP report backed up what his staff was saying about the disruptions.

“I think, generally speaking, the comments that came from the state kind of mirror what our staff was saying during the test,” stated Mellon. “Our elementary students were probably affected a little bit more as far as rescheduling than what our middle school students were. The other general thing was if you retained some third graders due to the IREAD 3 that was automatically going to inflate your fourth grade scores and show a decline in your third grade scores just because of your student pool at that time as far as student ability.”

The State has indicated that the scores won’t be released until August and Mr. Mellon added that teachers will be working quickly to dissect those assessments.

“Well, we will certainly have to grab a hold of that quickly, as far as even our Title 1 program, and hopefully our teachers can look at the data early in the year. They can see what group of students were not successful on this particular concept and get that built into the curriculum a little stronger or create small group-type learning. We will adjust accordingly and identify those students as quickly as possible and get them serviced,” Mellon said.

The Department of Education will process student reports to make them available online and calculate A-F accountability results for schools.