ISTEP begins amid concern over more technical problems

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The window for spring ISTEP testing opened Monday amid concerns that technical issues experienced in 2013 would surface a second time.

Frozen computers and spinning cursors were what Zionsville’s chief technology officer said she did not want to see during practice testing a week earlier.

Patti Bostwick said the school district and many others experienced problems during two days of practice causing anxiety among administrators.

“People are real nervous after last year. We had so many issues and had to suspend testing several times so when we started out with practice tests freezing. It just puts everybody on edge,” Bostwick said.

MSD of Wayne Township said schools across that district dealt with similar problems during testing.

“CTB/McGraw-Hill and the Indiana Department of Education have been working with us to try to get issues resolved. We’re grateful for their help and hope the problems can be fixed,” district spokesperson Mary Lang said.

Both Zionsville and Wayne Township planned to go ahead with testing as scheduled Monday.

The company responsible for ISTEP, CTB/McGraw-Hill has promised improvements going into the spring test. Months after the 2013 disruptions, officials said servers would be fit to handle twice the number of students in the future.

Indiana has not been alone in its struggles while administering CTB/McGraw-Hill’s software. Educators in Oklahoma suspended testing due to problems earlier in April for the second consecutive year.

In June, the superintendent of Indiana’s public schools, Glenda Ritz, announced she sought $614,000 from CTB/McGraw-Hill in damages for the 2013 testing interruptions. Negotiations were ongoing when last reported in September.

Indiana has a four-year contract with the testing company for $95 million.

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