Report: Despite computer glitches, Hoosier students scored better on ISTEP

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It seemed like a given that students who were interrupted during this year’s ISTEP testing would score lower on the test, but an independent report suggests just the opposite.

The report, commissioned for more than $50,000 by the state and performed by Dr. Richard Hill, found that scores on this year’s ISTEP were unaffected by computer glitches.

“That may come as a surprise to many,” Hill said.

One in six Hoosier students experienced testing interruptions during the first year the test went entirely online. School district reports put the number of affected students at double that, though.

“There really is an undetermined number of students who were indirectly affected,” said State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.

Still, test scores compared in a number of ways by Hill show that overall, Hoosiers did better on this year’s ISTEP test than in years past. Some numbers even suggest that many interrupted students outperformed their uninterrupted peers.

“The net impact of the interruptions was nill,” Hill said.

The state continues to negotiate over a settlement with test maker CTB/McGraw-Hill for the interruptions. Ritz said she expected that settlement to be substantial and that testing interruptions were unacceptable, given the stress and pressure it put on teachers and students.

Ritz also said she was instructing schools to make their own decisions on how to weigh ISTEP tests into teacher performance evaluations. It is the first year those test scores are being weighed into evaluations.

CTB/McGraw-Hill is expected to release its own internal investigation into test scores next week.