ISTEP scores could be released this week months after they should have been in the hands of school corporations around the state. ISTEP scores allow teachers and administrators to assess student performance and appropriate remediation on students that may benefit from extra instruction.
Major disruptions were caused during ISTEP testing this spring as the facilitator of the test, CTB McGraw Hill, experienced computer server glitches while students were taking the online test. Superintendent A.J. Gappa said while Knox students weren’t widely affected, some students in the state were.
“There were some major disruptions around the state, but we were one of the school corporations that was least affected percentage-wise,” stated Gappa. “We had, I think, four percent of students who were disrupted while some in other schools were up between 30 and 60 percent.”
In light of the revelation that former Indiana State Superintendent of Public Schools Tony Bennett reportedly had a hand in the adjusting of grades to benefit certain schools in the state’s A-F grading system and accountability, Superintendent Gappa stated that Bennett’s action puts a “cloud of doubt” and questions the validity of the tests.
“There haven’t been any official meetings in regards to that, but I know a lot of talk among school people is ‘gee are they really valid in what they’re doing?’ It just kind of puts a dark cloud over the whole ISTEP test in the first place,” Gappa said.
Gappa explained that the scores will not affect the way teachers prepare for the school year, but the delay affects teacher evaluations.
“With the adoption of the law the required accountability in teacher evaluations over the last couple of years, if you use the RISE evaluation tool came out with, part of that score for teachers on their evaluation is the accountability tied into the ISTEP scores in grades three through eight. It also accounts for other areas of the accountability. So, without scores and the school grades and so forth that you’re required to have in an evaluation, that just kind of delays that and puts that back farther than people are used to in previous years,” said Gappa.