ISTEP scores are further delayed

(WISH Photo,file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — ISTEP issues continue, this time it has to do with test scores. Changes have made the exam more challenging and therefore a new grading system will be in place.

The Indiana State Board of Education was set to vote on cut scores, or the minimum score needed in order to pass the ISTEP exam. But that didn’t happen, further delaying test results.

The latest ISTEP exam measures college and career readiness. The old test measured ISTEP proficiency.

“You’re talking about a brand new assessment that we gave last time. Issues are abound to arise. We’ll just address them and move forward,” said State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

One of those issues are about technical problems. Some classrooms experienced problems with the online version and had to resort to paper and pencil versions. One fourth grade teacher and board member, Sarah O’Brien is concerned the two versions varied in difficulty. She says they may require two sets of cut scores.

“Something that might’ve been a multiple choice question with four possible answers in one format and then could be an open ended with unlimited responses in another format,” said O’Brien.

O’Brien says she made it clear to the board back in July that she would not move forward with a cut score vote until a comparability study was completed and analyzed. The results of that study were in on October 2, but were not handed over for analysis until late Tuesday night.

“Bottom line is, we did not have the opportunity to have that authentic look at it to make sure we are making an informed decision in the best interest of our students,” said O’Brien.

Ritz says she was not aware that the board had requested the study before they would vote.

“So we’re going to step back, make sure that gets resolved. Try to stay on our time schedule to make sure that we’re going to be where we need to be to get the A to F grades out,” said Ritz.

The board is scheduled to hold a special meeting on October 28th. If the comparability study is reviewed, and there are not further issues, the board could establish the cut scores then.

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