Education
11:36 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Expert: Interruptions Didn't Affect ISTEP Scores

The widespread disruptions to Indiana’s online standardized tests last April, on average, did not hurt students’ final ISTEP+ scores.  That’s the conclusion a New Hampshire-based testing expert reported to lawmakers Monday.

State education officials hired the Center for Assessment’s Richard Hill six weeks ago to comb through the data of more than 495,000 ISTEP+ exams.

“If the interruptions had had a marked impact on student achievement, we would not have seen scores going up this year from last year,” Hill said.

Yet that was exactly the pattern Hill saw.  But at the student level, school level and state level, Hill says the data indicate the interruptions at least 79,000 students experienced on their ISTEP didn’t have any impact at all. 

Still, Hill says there’s a caveat.

“Didn’t affect the scores. They certainly affected people,” Hill said.

Teachers and administrators reported the disruptions left students upset and frustrated. Vincennes Democrat Kreg Battles says he doesn’t dispute Hill’s conclusion, but says teachers will have a tough time accepting this year’s result.

“This year is always going to have an asterisk, and questions are always going to remain, no matter what the report says,” Battles said.

The report does mean state officials can begin reporting ISTEP results to students and parents.  State superintendent Glenda Ritz told lawmakers she’s offered flexibility to local districts in using the test data in teacher evaluation scores. 

And Hill’s study is not done:  He’ll try to determine if individual students’ scores should be thrown out because of an interruption.  If they are, Ritz says they will not count towards a school’s A-F letter grade rating.