TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: ISTEP+ struggles cause testing woes

SOUTH WHITLEY — System crashes and technological difficulties interrupted student ISTEP+ testing last week. What was supposed to be an online testing process, turned into a web of computer mishaps and frustrations for teachers, administrators and students.“If I was taking these tests and my computer kept messing up on me, I don’t think I could have had the patience these students have had,” said Bruce Hansen, principal at South Whitley Elementary School. “We are far from the days of pencil and paper, but sometimes I think it is better.”Indiana Department of Education spokespeople assured schools that they will continue ISTEP+ testing for students today at the regular testing level. When the system started to encounter difficulties, IDOE asked for schools to reduce testing by half in order to lift the demand on the computer network. CTB McGraw-Hill, the testing company, informed IDOE Friday that it is confident that fixes made to its servers will allow for full testing to commence today.“I’m concerned for the integrity of the data collected,” Hansen said. “These kids have stopped and started tests. In other instances, what was supposed to be a 20-minute test took 45 minutes. So how can you accurately assess a student’s ability?”To read the rest of this story, see the May 6 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook and twitter.