Committee of lawmakers to hold ISTEP hearing next week

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A special committee of state lawmakers will soon hold the first of two hearings on the ISTEP testing issues that frustrated students and teachers this spring.

The committee will meet next week at the Statehouse, but thanks to more delays, they won’t yet have the ISTEP results in hand when the committee meets for this first time next Friday.

“We wished we would have had them now,” said Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chair of the Senate Education Committee. “A lot of students are frustrated and upset over this.”

“I personally would prefer to wait until after the results are in,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. “But that’ll be up to the (committee) chairs and they can always meet on the issue again.”

The committee does, in fact, have plans to meet for a second hearing in late July or early August once the test results are finally back.

Earlier this week, the Indiana Department of Education announced an independent investigation into this spring’s testing debacle, which affected thousands of students across the state. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz made the announcement at the Indiana Statehouse Monday.

Ritz said the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment will determine whether testing interruptions experienced by students invalidated ISTEP test scores.

The results of test scores have a large effect on schools and communities. School accountability and teacher compensation and evaluation are all tied to the testing data.

The independent investigation will also look into findings by CTB McGraw-Hill, the company that administered the online test.

CTB McGraw-Hill claims more than 78,000 students across the state were affected by glitches in the online test, but some local districts said their tally of affected students was higher than the numbers released by CTB-McGraw Hill.

The investigation could take up to five weeks.

Parents like Heather Palmer told Fox 59 they were frustrated with the delays and concerned that the tests might not even count once the investigation wraps up.

“I don’t know if it should be invalidated,” Palmer said. “It seems like a lot of effort for the kids, who did a lot, and now it means nothing.”

“I think there’s going to be a certain number of those tests that would become invalid,” Kruse said.

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