ISTEP Round Two Begins Next Week

The second round of the ISTEP test will be administered starting next week in area schools.

Students took the first portion of the test in March of this year – which covers English, Math, and for some students: Science and Social Studies. ISTEP is used to help measure student performance in a handful of subject areas.
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Winter Storms Briefly Delay ISTEP Testing In Local Schools

Winter weather occurring earlier this week affected schools in more ways than canceling classes.

The wintry mix that descended on the area also delayed ISTEP testing for several schools. The ISTEP test has been discussed for some time in the General Assembly with reforms to the test approved by lawmakers.
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ISTEP Testing Delayed at Knox Schools

The icy conditions yesterday, causing cancellation of a school day, also delayed the start of ISTEP testing in the Knox Middle School. Testing there was scheduled to start Tuesday.

At Monday’s meeting of the Knox School Board, Superintendent A.J. Gappa reviewed the constant changes in the ISTEP provisions by the State. In a visual presentation, he compared last year’s testing plan with the current year.

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Area Students to Take Shortened ISTEP Exam Next Week

 This year’s shortened ISTEP exam will be taken at all of the local schools next week. The test window begins today.

Governor Mike Pence signed into law SEA 62, the bill that allows the Indiana Department of Education to shorten this year’s ISTEP test. The test would have been more than 12 hours for third grade students.

The test will begin on Monday at most schools and Tuesday at others. Students will be tested in the next two weeks. The window closes March 11.

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Department of Education Issues New ISTEP Requirements

Calls for reduced test times have prompted the Indiana Department of Education to issue guidance eliminating certain questions from the ISTEP test.

The reductions come shortly after new rules were adopted by the Indiana General Assembly. Those alterations, however, come close to the actual testing dates.
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West Central School Board Discusses Missed Days

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon

The West Central School Board members tackled the issue of missed school days during their meeting last week.

Superintendent Charles Mellon explained that six days have been missed due to weather. Two of those days will be waived by the State, two days will need to be made up by using built-in snow days within the calendar and two will need to be added to the end of the school year. Mellon said that other options have also been presented.

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West Central School Board Receives ISTEP+, ADM Report

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon

The West Central middle school and elementary principals went over the ISTEP+ test results with the board and Superintendent Charles Mellon said there is room for improvement.

“We had very good results in the elementary school but the middle school wasn’t quite what we wanted,” explained Mellon. “We will be spending some time and looking at that, searching to see what we need to do to kind of produce better student performance in those areas.”

Mellon also shared the Average Daily Membership (ADM) count with the board.

“We went from 833 students to 806. Our vocational numbers were up so we got a little bit of extra funding in the vocational line. That will help.”

Culver Schools Report Positive ISTEP+ Results

Culver Community School Superintendent Brad Schuldt

Culver Community School Superintendent Brad Schuldt

The Culver Community School Corporation reports continue growth in their ISTEP+ results, according to Superintendent Brad Schuldt, who explained the corporation reported the highest scores they’ve ever had in combined English/Language Arts and Math scores. In addition, the number of kids passing the test at the elementary school is the highest its been as well, with the highest percentage they’ve had at the high school passing the end-of-course assessments as well.

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NJ-SP Superintendent Happy With ISTEP Scores

Superintendent Lynn Johnson

Superintendent Lynn Johnson

The ISTEP results are in for school corporations across the state and according to the superintendent of the North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation, the corporation did very well and showed growth in multiple areas. Lynn Johnson said she’s happy with the scores, especially the combined score for English/Language Arts and Math, which came in with an improvement over last year of four percentage points.

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ISTEP Scores Released on Parent Network Yesterday

The ISTEP scores came in yesterday, and while school-wide results won’t be released until next month, parents can still learn their child’s score by going online. After a number of delays affected the state’s ISTEP testing, parents should have received a special code that they can use to go online and see their child’s ISTEP results, including the scores that have been ruled invalid.

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ISTEP Scores May Arrive at School Corporations this Week

ISTEP scores could be released this week months after they should have been in the hands of school corporations around the state. ISTEP scores allow teachers and administrators to assess student performance and appropriate remediation on students that may benefit from extra instruction.

Major disruptions were caused during ISTEP testing this spring as the facilitator of the test, CTB McGraw Hill, experienced computer server glitches while students were taking the online test. Superintendent A.J. Gappa said while Knox students weren’t widely affected, some students in the state were.

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Local Schools React to ISTEP+ Review

No measurable negative impact occurred after computer glitches interrupted students taking the ISTEP+ test last spring. That’s according to an official review of the testing.

The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment was hired by the Indiana Department of Education to evaluate the validity of the tests.

Oregon-Davis Interim Superintendent Greg Briles argues the point that no measurable impact occurred at his school as 88 students were affected by the interruptions. He explained that O-D is a small school and those numbers are big when compared to larger schools – such as the Knox Community School Corporation. Briles says the impact is not comparing apples to apples.

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DOE Seeking Damages for ISTEP+ Test Interruptions

The preliminary damage amount has been released by the Indiana Department of Education that pertains to the ISTEP+ related interruptions experienced by schools throughout the state this spring.

The state is seeking damages not less than $613,000 and could reasonably go into the millions. That amount includes $400,000 in liquidation damages provided for in the contract between the Department of Education and CTB McGraw-Hill. It also includes a price that the DOE will spend to have a third party conduct an analysis of the student’s scores and other related costs associated with enhanced reporting data.

Additional damages include a reimbursement to Indiana schools for additional costs incurred to administer the ISTEP+ test during the extended testing window and reimbursements to the DOE.

ISTEP Testing Issues Could Cause More Problems

Online ISTEP testing caused several problems for schools around the state last week. The state has a four-year $90 million contract with T-C-B-McGraw-Hill to provide the capabilities to allow ISTEP testing to take place online. This is the second year in a row that students have been interrupted taking the state mandated test which has brought up questions about the validity of the testing this year. Students who were “kicked off” while testing came back the next day and had to start the test over. That’s a lot of mental pressure on the students.

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ISTEP+ Testing Returns to Normal Levels

Indiana Department of EducationSchools can resume ISTEP+ testing at normal levels today. Officials with the Indiana Department of Education say software vendor CTB McGraw-Hill is confident fixes made to their servers last week will allow for full testing. Problems administering the online test last week prompted state officials to ask schools to administer the test to half of their students at a time. They also extended the testing window for schools until May 17. So far, about 48 percent of total ISTEP+ sessions have been completed. State officials say minimal interruptions were reported Friday.

State Reports Trouble-Free ISTEP Testing

Indiana Department of Education

ISTEP+ testing resumes today in classrooms across the state. No major problems were reported during the administration of ISTEP tests yesterday, according to officials with the Indiana Department of Education. Computer crashes earlier in the week halted the administration of the test. As a workaround, state officials asked schools to cut the number of students testing at a time by half. That reduction continues today, and the department of education has extended the testing window by two additional days. Schools now have until May 17 to finish giving the test. Minimal interruptions were reported yesterday, according to state officials, who say 41 percent of the total expected ISTEP+ sessions have been completed this week. Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz remains committed to working with schools, students and parents to ensure that they have the time they need to guarantee all Hoosier students have the opportunity to take a fair test.

Knox School Officials Disappointed In ISTEP Scores

Knox Community School Superintendent A.J. Gappa

The three principals and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at the Knox Community School Corporation gave the school board members an overview of the corporation’s ISTEP scores.

Superintendent A.J. Gappa said all of the administrators and the board were disappointed in this year’s scores.

“They dropped in most categories at both the elementary school and a the middle school,” stated Gappa. “Everybody’s gathering together and making action plans on how their going to move forward and turn that around. We’re confident that the plans are going to be successful and do a reversal on the scores.”

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West Central Confident ISTEP Scores Will Improve

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon

The three West Central school principals addressed the school board about the ISTEP scores and Superintendent Charles Mellon indicated that they are confident new strategies will turn around those scores.

“We’re presently analyzing our data that has come back to us so we can see different trends that are taking place,” said Mellon. “We’ll get that information together before we give off-the-cuff answers for our lower scores this year. We will be addressing the board each month this year as to our progress in working our way back to more positive scores next year.”

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Culver Announces Decline In Middle School ISTEP Scores

Culver Community School Superintendent, Brad Schuldt

Culver Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt says their ISTEP results are in, bringing some good and bad news. He says the elementary school grades three through six had the largest gains in scores of any of the 13 middle and elementary schools in Marshall County, and more than 80 percent of the students passed.

Schuldt said that for four consecutive years, the elementary school has increased scores in every category, and a vast majority of students passed both math and language arts sections.

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ISTEP Scores Drop At West Central Schools

West Central School Superintendent Charles Mellon

The West Central School Board members discussed ISTEP scores during their recent meeting and Superintendent Charles Mellon said the scores were down this year.

“We have a lot of work to do there Our scores have gone down. I didn’t want to give any off-the-cuff reasons as to why. We’re going to do some in-depth investigation as to the rationale,” Mellon explained.

Mellon said it was a bit of a surprise as the students showed growth in testing throughout the school year.

“A lot of our inside the corporation test scores, like with acuity and so on, show student growth at a good rate. We need to go in and compare some scores and dig a little deeper to see why we’re going in the wrong direction,” said Mellon.