ISTEP troubles show test too big to fail

The failure of Indiana's online test-taking system last week is showing that standardized testing is too big to fail.

The state's ISTEP+ test determines whether students have mastered the skills they need, sets teacher and school pay and is worth tens of millions of dollars each year to contractor CTB/McGraw Hill.

It's something leaders of the state's largest teachers union dubbed "intensely high stakes" last week. That would explain why state schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz says she wants to see testing completed before closely reviewing the state's contract with McGraw Hill.

The most recent contract pays McGraw-Hill nearly $96 million over four years. But it also includes penalties ranging between $50,000 and $250,000 for each day the online testing system is down.

Students will resume testing this week.

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