Major glitches halt ISTEP testing throughout the state - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Major glitches halt ISTEP testing throughout the state

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Day two of major glitches with ISTEP testing across Indiana. 

For the second day in a row, testing was put to a halt across the state because of technical problems. It's the first year for the EVSC to do ISTEP testing online for all grades. 

"We do the practice testing, of course, to give students the opportunity to practice on the test, but also to make sure that all the technology's in place, all the content is loaded on the machines and that we're ready to go," said Susan McDowell Riley, EVSC's Deputy Superintendent for Accountability and Academic Affairs.

Despite that week of practice, all did not go as planned when students in the EVSC and across the state attempted to start ISTEP testing Monday. 

"We had issues where the machines were freezing up and we were getting error messages on the majority of the students' machines," McDowell Riley said.

So schools tried again on Tuesday. 

But around mid-morning, more problems with the computers caused the EVSC, and eventually, the entire state to stop testing once again.

For McDowell Riley, the delay has proved to be a scheduling issue.

"But the other concern, of course, is the frustration that the students and the staff feel. We have shared that concern that we have with the Indiana Department of Education," McDowell Riley said.

"If they're going to institute something like this ISTEP and put such a big deal on it, then I think that they should at least put forth the effort to iron out the bugs in it," said Marvin Mofield, the grandfather of an EVSC student. 

McDowell Riley said ISTEP helps schools know if students have mastered state standards, but it also reflects on the school itself, as well as staff.

"Schools now receive a letter grade A-F based on how they're doing performance wise. That is based on performance on ISTEP," McDowell Riley said. "Now in many places in Indiana, teachers are being paid based on their students' performance on ISTEP. So it's so critical that our ISTEP scores are valid and they are a true representation of what our students, the skills they have mastered because these scores are used in many different ways  in terms of accountability."

In a statement released on Tuesday about the ISTEP issues, State Superintendent of Public Education Glenda Ritz said all students deserve to take a test that is valid, accurate and reliable. 

The issue is with the vendor of the testing, not the schools' computers. Ritz said that vendor believes testing will be a go on Wednesday.

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