Report: ISTEP+ tests may have differed in degree of difficulty

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana State Board of Education will probably not vote to approve passing grades for the 2014-15 ISTEP test on Wednesday morning.

Board members expected to meet Wednesday to determine which ISTEP scores would qualify as passing grades this year. Officials expected the new passing rates to lower, or scores to drop, in the first year of a new test, because they’d changed standards. They said they expected that rate would grow from there.

A release from INSBOE spokesman Marc Lotter said Wednesday morning they’d received information late Tuesday night from the Indiana Department of Education that raises questions about the differences between the ISTEP online and tests taken on paper.

Lotter said in the release that their concerns center around a report by the Department of Education from Oct. 2 that was not provided to the test’s Technical Advisory Commission and the INSBOE until Tuesday night.

“It is unfortunate that information that is more than two weeks old was not provided to the state’s independent experts and board members until the night before the board meeting. In light of this new information, the board will likely delay the cut score setting process until the experts have time to properly review the material and answer their questions about the test,” Lotter said in the release.

He said the ISTEP’s technical advisory committee will now review the new material to figure out what difference there was in level of difficulty between the online and paper tests.

The board was scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday. It is also scheduled to discuss approving funding formulas for charter school advance and grant programs.

A board meeting is also scheduled for Oct. 28. Lotter says if the ISTEP reviews are done then, the board could establish cut scores during that meeting.

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