ISTEP scores have been released by the State Department of Education, but Eastern Pulaski School superintendent Dan Foster says there are still many issues to be resolved.
He told the school board Monday the preliminary data sent out to educators didn’t make a lot of sense, “ISTEP scores were kind of released Friday, but the list-serve blew up immediately because it was so scrambled. There was just lists and lists and lists of numbers, and it went out dozens of columns – I don’t even know how many. So they made some adjustments and came out on Saturday morning with the scores.”
Foster said another challenge stems from a change in the procedure for requesting a re-score for students a few points short of passing, “If it was four, five, six points and they were pretty close, usually the administration would go ahead and request a re-score, just to make sure something wasn’t missed and maybe the student did pass. Now it’s on the parents, and by the way, the parents have to have that in by Friday of this week.”
Foster told the school board that parents have been notified of the change. He said even though school officials knew it was coming, the change is still difficult, “It’s hard enough for us who are in this every day, all the time to absorb this information. Putting that in front of a parent and saying, ‘I don’t know; do I have my student re-scored?’ – that’s very difficult.”
Foster says the state plans to release the final results by late December, but by then the scores won’t be very useful, since the ISTEP test is changing again this year. He says he’s frustrated with the issues surrounding the test, “I guess when you take a test and you wait until the test is taken and then you determine what the cut score should be, I just have a problem with that. If you expect students to pass here and pass at this rate, then that’s where it needs to be set, and if they pass it, they pass it. Setting a cut score after the tests are taken just boggles my mind.”
He told the school board that schools around the state are doing the best they can to deal with the situation.