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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, June 30, 2016 10:02 pm

ISTEP scores again delayed

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Stop me if you’ve heard this before – ISTEP+ scores for Indiana students in third through eighth grade are delayed. Again.

Lawmakers passed legislation in March requiring ISTEP+ scores be reported by July 1 and the Department of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz recently promised that initial scores would be available for parents June 30.

But when parents went to the Pearson website Thursday to check their students’ scores they were met with a message saying the scores were delayed until July 5.

A statement from Pearson said "Following extensive quality reviews, Pearson expects to provide the statewide results for the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) to the State Board of Education on July 1, 2016. Individual scores will be released on July 5, 2016. We are actively working to release accurate scores to Indiana families and educators as quickly as possible."

The board is next in session July 5.

"The Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Department of Education are directly responsible for managing the ISTEP+ program and the program’s vendors. Delaying scores and defying state law to post scores by July 1 is unacceptable," said Yorktown Community Schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick. "We need a Superintendent and a Department that can successfully manage Indiana’s statewide assessment system."

She is running against Ritz, a Democrat, for the state schools chief post.

Ritz did not send a release about the delay. When contacted by The Journal Gazette, spokeswoman Samantha Hart said, "This delay from Pearson is unacceptable for our students, schools and families. This is yet another reason why the department believes we need to get away from an expensive, inefficient, pass/fail assessment like ISTEP+."

Pearson won the bid for a $38 million, two-year contract to give the ISTEP+ test starting this year.

CTB-McGraw Hill previously had a $95 million, four-year contract for ISTEP+ but the company had major performance problems, from testing interruptions, possible scoring errors and several delays.

Parents of third- through eighth-graders have time this summer to request a rescore once they see their child’s initial score.

nkelly@jg.net