UPDATE: Schools facing ISTEP+ problems may have access Wed.

By: Associated Press; NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: Associated Press; NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

Administration of ISTEP testing has faced a second day of problems. Throughout the state, Indiana school districts are encountering problems again as students try to access the required standardized test.

Schools in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and the Lafayette area reported technical issues with the ISTEP+ exam Tuesday. The issues follow similar problems Monday that affected 27,000 students and forced many schools to suspend testing.

In response to the system errors, Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction said she was “greatly disappointed” to learn about the second day of interruptions.

“We have been constantly monitoring the situation this (Tuesday) morning. Between approximately 7:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. over 150,000 test sessions were completed. At approximately 11:15 a.m., there was a spike in test interruptions,” Ritz added.

Some school officials say they're worried that the problems will affect scores and give an inaccurate picture of how well students are doing. The Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) demands assurances that the fire/misfire testing scenario be addressed because of the test's importance. After a recent change in state law, ISTEP not only represents student proficiency but also drives school grades, teacher evaluations and teacher’s compensation.

Due to current “school reform efforts,” the ISTA says public school educators in Indiana are already under enough stress without the “added pressure of testing problems created by McGraw Hill, an out-of-state testing company.”

The teachers association also says McGraw Hill needs to inform Hoosiers as to why the requisite pre-administration stress testing was not done according to protocol.

Superintendent Ritz has instructed the Dept. of Education to suspend testing for the remainder of the day Tuesday. She said they are working with the McGraw Hill to ensure the rest of the test is administered smoothly and will conduct a review to determine what caused the issue.

The Indianapolis Star reports this is the third straight year that students in grades three through eight taking the online portion of the exam have encountered problems.

WANE-TV in Fort Wayne says state officials have extended the deadline to complete the testing.

Tuesday evening school corporations were told that a message will be sent out at around 6:00 a.m. Wednesday morning to confirm access to ISTEP+ Online. Students in grades 3-8 are currently taking the multiple choice portion of the exam.

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